A Myanmar maid was jailed by a Singapore court for 22 weeks after being found guilty of voluntarily causing harm to her employer’s 19-year-old daughter – choking her with a pillowcase she put around her neck for five minutes.

Defendant Su Hlaning Hnin, a Myanmar national, worked for the victim’s family of five at Trellis Tower in Toa Payoh from January 10 this year, Lianhe Zaobao (Singapore) reported.

The court heard that at 9:30am on February 18, nearly six weeks after she was employed, the domestic worker was at home with only the family’s 19-year-old daughter. The employers had taken an elderly mother to a hospital appointment and then did some shopping at a wet market, while their elder son had gone out to a gym.

The victim, who initially sat at the dining table using a computer, was attacked from behind by the maid, who put a pillowcase around her neck and shouted “Look, look”.

The victim stood up and struggled to free herself from the maid by pulling to loosen the pillowcase around her neck.

The incident turned into a fight as the maid did not loosen her hold on the pillowcase and the victim sustained further injuries to her body after bumping into some hard objects in the flat during her struggle against the attacker.

After five minutes the daughter scratched the maid on her face in order to escape and ran into her bedroom, where the maid talked to her with a few words of English like “family” and “love”.

Frightened that the maid could attack her again, the 19-year-old nodded to express approval and promised the maid that she would not report the incident to her parents.

The victim told the maid she had an upset stomach and thus was able to lock herself in the toilet, where she sent texts to her parents for help.

The maid disagreed with the court’s decision, saying the bruises on the victim’s head, forearm, neck, abdomen and shoulders had been self-inflicted sometime before the daughter went to the washroom.

The employer’s family said the incident was strange, because the maid had seemed “normal” and calm. She had previously been a law student but had to give up her studies when he mother was diagnosed with leukemia and the family needed money for medication. She had worked for her aunt in Yangon for six or seven years before going to Singapore.

It was suspected that the woman may have been homesick or had emotional issues, as well as difficulty communicating with the family.

The Myanmar maid said she would lodge an appeal against the ruling to the High Court.