Singapore nurse found guilty of poisoning two infants with multiple drugs

Nurse who babysat two infants found guilty of poisoning them with multiple drugs. — TODAY pic
Nurse who babysat two infants found guilty of poisoning them with multiple drugs. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, Oct 15 — A 38-year-old registered nurse was today found guilty of feeding drugs — including sleeping pills and anti-anxiety medication — to two infants she was babysitting.

Sa'adiah Jamari earlier contested two charges of causing hurt by administering poisons to a five-month-old baby and an 11-month-old infant in 2016 in separate cases.

When the baby girls became drowsy after the babysitting sessions, their parents took them to the hospital. 

Toxicology reports showed various drugs in their blood and urine — 10 drugs in the younger girl, who was found to have overdosed, and six in the older infant.

District Judge John Ng said today that he was satisfied the prosecution proved the charges against Sa’adiah beyond a reasonable doubt.

Sa’adiah will return to court on November 24 to be sentenced.

For administering poison with the intent to cause hurt, she could be jailed up to 10 years and fined. She cannot be caned as she is a woman.

What happened

Sa’adiah, who has daughters herself, was an enrolled nurse and offered freelance babysitting services towards the end of 2016.

Court documents did not state where she worked. 

She had regular prescriptions for three drugs — alprazolam and diazepam, which are sleeping pills, and zolpidem, a medication for insomnia.

The baby girls’ mothers took their children to her home after engaging her services online. 

The mother of the five-month-old baby took the child over on eight occasions in November and December 2016. 

After four sessions, the girl’s mother found her unusually drowsy and cranky. The baby was diagnosed with the common cold at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), where a blood test was taken. The doctors, however, did not check for drugs in her blood.

After the last session on December 9, 2016, when the girl became drowsy again, her mother took her to the Parkway East Hospital. Doctors found that she was flopping around and unable to follow objects.

Sa’adiah separately babysat the 11-month-old girl once on Christmas Day in 2016.

Her parents took her to KKH upon realising that their baby had droopy eyelids, could not sit or stand upright without support, and had difficulty walking after Sa’adiah babysat her.

The mother of the younger baby filed a police report in late December 2016. 

Accused denied poisoning infants

When Sa’adiah was arrested, the authorities found some drugs on a handkerchief and milk bottle at her home. 

They also found an empty slab of zolpidem, a sedative otherwise known as Stilnox, and a slab of antihistamine tablets for the treatment of allergies.

Sa’adiah’s best friend, Dr Peter Looi, testified that he often brought her some of the drugs as treatment for her medical conditions.

These included orphenadrine, a prescription-only muscle relaxant that was found in the younger girl’s blood and urine.

Some of the other drugs were available over the counter at pharmacies.

In court, Sa’adiah denied poisoning the babies, disputing the claim that they were normal when they arrived at her home and unusually drowsy when they left.

Even so, she acknowledged that she had some of the drugs and was given weekly prescriptions at the time of her offences.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Yan Jiakang criticised Sa’adiah for changing her story to suit her purposes and for claiming memory loss when inconsistencies arose.

Her lawyers had claimed that the grandmother of the younger baby girl had planted the drug in small doses, as she did not want a babysitter to look after the infant.

The grandmother rejected the assertions. — TODAY

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