Singapore court jails maid who recorded herself ill-treating toddler

The 35-year-old pleaded guilty to two counts of ill-treating a child, and was sentenced to nine months’ jail yesterday. — AFP pic
The 35-year-old pleaded guilty to two counts of ill-treating a child, and was sentenced to nine months’ jail yesterday. — AFP pic

SINGAPORE, July 14 — Enraged with her boyfriend after a quarrel, a Filipino domestic helper decided to film herself abusing her employer’s toddler and send him the videos to show him what she was capable of when she was angry.

Leslie Ann Belmonte Dieza smothered the boy with a pillow, pulled his hair, and used a kitchen knife to hit him repeatedly on his buttocks.

The 35-year-old pleaded guilty to two counts of ill-treating a child, and was sentenced to nine months’ jail yesterday.

The court heard that Dieza was married to a fellow Filipino who also worked in Singapore. They had a strained relationship as she was having an affair with another man, known only as Raymond.

Dieza had been working in her Australian employer’s household for about 16 months before the day of the incident.

On Apr 11 this year, shortly before 2pm, Raymond called Dieza using Facebook video call. They got into a heated argument over finances, which led to Dieza’s decision to record videos of her abusing the toddler, who was one year and four months old at that time.

The boy was lying on a bed as she was putting him to sleep. She put her camera phone at the side of the bed, aimed it at him, and began physically abusing him.

She pressed his face on the mattress, smothered him with a pillow, shook him while holding onto a pillow around his head, shook and twisted his head while pulling him by his hair, then lifted him by his hair and threw his head against a pillow.

The video clip lasted one minute and 34 seconds.

Later, between 2pm and 3pm, Dieza and the toddler were sitting on the kitchen floor when she decided to record another video.

She grabbed and extended the boy’s left arm and used a 27cm-long kitchen knife to hit him repeatedly on his buttocks.

When he crawled closer to her, she lifted and positioned him directly in front of her, before continuing to hit him.

That video clip was about 35 seconds long.

Dieza then sent the videos to Raymond via Facebook Messenger.

On the same day, Raymond got his sister to contact Dieza’s husband, who worked as a logistics coordinator in Singapore, and sent him the videos.

After seeing the videos, Dieza’s husband met her near her employer’s condominium. She walked off following an argument.

He decided to call the police, and she was arrested that night after she returned to her employer’s home.

The toddler was brought to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital and was found with a 1 cm-long abrasion on his left heel. Further examination did not reveal other injuries, and he was discharged the following day.

For each charge of ill-treating a child under the Children and Young Persons Act, Dieza could have jailed up to four years and fined up to S$4,000 (11,864.60). — TODAY

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