Maid who strangled baby has life sentence upheld at Dubai appeal court

The Indian woman strangled the child after her sponsors refused her leave to attend her mother’s funeral.

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DUBAI // A maid who strangled the 11-month-old baby of her sponsors lost an appeal against a life sentence on Wednesday morning.

Indian R T, 29, was found guilty by Dubai Criminal Court of gagging the little girl and wrapping a scarf around her neck after she was refused leave by her employers, who are also Indian. On Wednesday, the appeal court upheld that ruling.

When the case first came to court in May last year, the parents of the baby were seen sobbing as they spoke to the defendant inside the courtroom, begging her to give them a reason why she had killed their child.

Outside the courtroom that day, 36-year-old mother F K, who holds a British passport, said: “We treated her so well. She was like a sister to me. We ate on the same table.”

Her weeping husband added: “We celebrated her birthday and took her out for an ice-cream treat after we bought her some gifts.”

Prosecutors said the maid confessed to killing the baby after her sponsors refused to let her travel for her mother's funeral because they had no one else to look after their children.

On January 18 the maid waited for her sponsors to leave their home in Al Nahda, Sharjah, for work at 10am before wrapping a scarf around the baby’s neck and strangling her. She then went on with her chores and the child died at about 11am.

The baby was rushed to Zulekha Hospital in Dubai. Doctors there reported the matter to police, suspecting foul play.

The little girl’s aunt previously told the court that she called her sister at about 3pm and told her the maid had rung and said the baby was not waking up and had breathing difficulties.

“I arrived at the home in about 10 minutes and saw the baby in the maid’s lap,” the aunt said. “I rushed her to the hospital, where they told me she had been dead for two hours.”

A forensics report confirmed there was a bruise around the baby’s neck from a tightened scarf, and she had bruising around her mouth from being gagged to stop her making noise.

The defendant will be deported after completing her jail term but the verdict remains subject to appeal within 15 days at the cassation court.