A 36-year-old Filipino national was jailed for 12 weeks by the Singapore District Court on Wednesday after pleading guilty to punching a 77-year-old man with dementia who had been placed in his care at a nursing home in November last year.

Bernardo JR Perdido Ramos, who worked as a nurse in Singapore for 12 years and was dismissed after the incident, pleaded guilty to voluntarily causing hurt to the elderly man, who had been diagnosed with severe dementia, the Shin Min Daily News reported.

The court heard the incident happened in November last year while Ramos was distributing bed sheets and pillowcases at the Orange Valley Nursing Home in Clementi. His trolley accidentally hit the elderly man’s bed, startling the sleeping man.

He sat up and asked who had disturbed him, prompting the accused to come forward and say: “Why? Me!” The patient hit the nurse once on the chest. Ramos then punched the man four or five punches in the face, knocking him backwards onto the bed.

A nursing assistant nearby witnessed the assault and shouted at Ramos in an effort to stop him. However, Ramos glared at him instead and hit the man’s face at least one more time.

After noting a small cut on the victim’s left ear and a swollen and reddened left eye, the assistant wanted to expose Ramos, who looked threateningly at him and warned him not to. The witness eventually managed to talk to the supervisor an hour later and reported the assault.

In mitigation, the lawyer asserted that Ramos was “not a man of violence” by nature and the offense was not premeditated. He was also unlikely to secure another job in the country after serving jail.

The district judge concluded that a custodial sentence was warranted, noting that the accused had “overreacted disproportionately” and it was a severe breach of trust of the vulnerable.