18-Year-Old Helper Who Added Dettol Into Ribena Says She Was Emotionally Abused
Many Singaporeans could have a bottle of Dettol at home, especially during the pandemic when everyone was obsessed with cleanliness.
Needless to say, though, ingesting the antiseptic might prove harmful to your body.
A teenage domestic helper added Dettol to a bottle of Ribena that was later used to prepare drinks for three people, including two children.
Source: Prinzism Px on Flickr, for illustration purposes only
She has now been jailed for her actions.
Helper poured Dettol into Ribena on 4 Aug
Mila Rindi Antika, 18, was employed by a woman to work in her home, according to court documents seen by The Straits Times (ST).
On the morning of 4 Aug, the Indonesian national was alone at home when she took a bottle of Dettol antiseptic.
She mixed some of its contents into a bottle of Ribena cordial.
Source: Tristan Horn on Flickr, for illustration purposes only
The Dettol was then placed at the far end of a cabinet.
Ribena served to 3 people
Significantly, Ribena was the beverage of choice for Mila’s employer to prepare for her two grandsons, who would visit about three times a week.
Sure enough, later that day the woman mixed some Ribena for the two boys, aged 10 and 11, and her 32-year-old son.
While her son thought the Ribena had a chemical taste, he dismissed this. The elder boy also didn’t make any fuss.
However, the 10-year-old said the drink had a “weird” taste.
Helper denies adding Dettol into Ribena
When the woman checked the cup, she detected a strong chemical smell.
The Ribena bottle was opened, and the chemical smell emanated from it.
The helper, however, denied adding anything to the cordial when asked.
While the employer initially didn’t pursue the matter, she kept the Ribena bottle in her room.
Days later, she saw the Dettol bottle in the cabinet and called the police.
Helper claims to have suffered emotional abuse
After being apprehended, Mila confessed to the offence, saying she did it as she wanted to avoid doing work.
However, she also claimed to have suffered emotional abuse.
She also alleged that she hadn’t been given enough food by her employer, but she was found not to be underweight during an examination.
Helper knew children would drink the Ribena: Prosecutor
At a hearing at the State Courts, a prosecutor urged the judge to sentence Mila to between five and six months’ jail.
That’s because two young children had drunk the tainted drink.
The accused knew that the boys often drank Ribena when they came over, the prosecutor said.
Also, the accused had in fact hoped her employers would drink the Ribena, adding the Dettol to it in an area in the kitchen that she thought wasn’t covered by CCTV.
Helper jailed for 4 months
In the hearing at the State Courts on Thursday (9 Nov), Mila pleaded guilty to performing a rash act that could cause hurt to others.
She was sentenced to four months’ jail.
For the offence, she could’ve been jailed for up to a year and fined up to S$5,000.
Helpers must be at least 23 years old
There’s one detail still unresolved: At 18 years of age, Mila is too young to be a helper in Singapore.
According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), helpers must be at least 23 years old to be eligible to apply for a Work Permit here.
Court documents, however, didn’t indicate whether anybody would be held responsible over this issue.
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