Maid spikes breast milk with oil

SINGAPORE - Her employer's wife had scolded her for not completing some housework she was asked to do.

Unhappy, the 28-year-old Indonesian maid mixed some eucalyptus oil into milk meant for the couple's infant son.

She pleaded guilty in court yesterday to one count of attempting to administer an unwholesome item to the then-two-month-old boy, knowing it would likely cause hurt to him.

The maid cannot be named to protect the child's identity.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Delicia Tan said the child's mother, a manager, had stored her breast milk in disposable packets which she placed in a refrigerator.

She would personally feed up to three packets of the milk to her son every day.

Her husband, a property agent, employed the maid on June 2 last year. But the Indonesian wanted him to terminate her work permit and send her home after she was scolded over housework on Aug 23.


On the same day, the maid was alone at home after the family left their house at around 2pm. She took a bottle of eucalyptus oil, retrieved two packets of breast milk from the refrigerator, and poured some of the oil inside.

After that, she re-sealed the packets and placed them back in the outermost part of the refrigerator. The maid did so as she knew that the mother would likely take them out first to feed her son, said DPP Tan.

Soon after returning home with her family at around 6.30pm, the mother took out a packet of breast milk from the refrigerator as she wanted to top it up.

Noticing a pungent smell when she opened the packet, she decided to check the others and found that another packet also reeked of the same odour.

She told her husband about it and they decided to check the maid's personal belongings that evening. They found the bottle of eucalyptus oil on a cabinet. The smell resembled that of the tainted packets of milk.

The couple informed the police at around 11.45pm. The police arrested the maid and seized the packets of tainted milk and the bottle of oil.

The Health Sciences Authority analysed them and found that all three items contained eucalyptol, a natural organic compound derived from eucalyptus. It also contained terpineol, which is a kind of alcohol.

The maid, who was not represented, will be sentenced next Thursday. For committing the offence, she can be jailed up to 10 years and fined.

This article was first published on January 7, 2015.
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