Mother and daughter killed by housemaid, say police

DUBAI // A housemaid stabbed her employer 70 times before burning down the house, killing the employer's two-year-old child in the process, a senior Ras al Khaimah police official said yesterday. The 21-year-old African maid was arrested on suspicion of murder after she was found hiding in another emirate less than 24 hours after the crime was committed, said Lt Col Salim Sultan al Darmaki, the chief of the RAK CID. According to Lt Col al Darmaki, a fire was reported inside a flat where the bodies of a 35-year-old Arab woman and her two-year-old daughter were found. Gold, jewellery, money and a mobile phone belonging to the victim were also found missing. A search began in a bid to find the missing housemaid. The Emirati husband of the deceased told police the maid had started work only 10 days before the crime happened. "Investigators found and arrested the maid in another emirate, where she was staying with female compatriots," said Lt Col al Darmaki. The maid, who had been living in the country for 20 days before her arrest, had already worked for two other Emirati families and been dismissed before her employment agency sent her to the home where she allegedly killed the mother and child. Forensic reports conducted by police show the woman died from her stab wounds, while the child died from smoke inhalation. Lt Col al Darmaki said the maid confessed to police and claimed her motive for the crime was mistreatment by the Arab woman. "She said in her confession that her work was continuously criticised by her employer and they had repeated arguments during which the Arab woman threatened to fire her and send her home," said Lt Col al Darmaki. On the evening of the murder, the two got into another argument and the maid was told she would be sent back to the employment agency in the morning. The woman contacted the agency and instructed the maid to pack her belongings, according to al Darmaki. The maid then stabbed the woman 70 times in different parts of her body and placed her blood soaked clothes in a bag before setting light to it and fleeing. The fire engulfed the flat and killed the little girl. The maid was arrested on suspicion of murder and confessed after police questioned her. Lt Col al Darmaki warned that people should not take the employment of servants lightly. "The decision to employ a servant at home should be taken with a lot of care and caution, and people should always try to treat each other better and avoid conflicts that can lead to such disasters," he said. The case has been referred to the public prosecutor.

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