Myanmar Domestic Helper Found Guilty of Murdering Employer’s Mother-in-Law


A domestic helper from Myanmar, Zin Mar Nwe, was convicted of murder on Thursday (May 18) for fatally stabbing her employer’s elderly mother-in-law in 2018. Justice Andre Maniam delivered the verdict, stating that Zin Mar Nwe, who was around 17 years old at the time, had stabbed the 70-year-old victim in response to the elderly woman’s threat to send her back to her agent.

According to Channel News Asia (CNA), the defense argued that Zin Mar Nwe was not aware of her actions during the stabbing, claiming she was in a dissociative state of mind or suffered from an abnormality of mind. However, Justice Maniam rejected these arguments, stating that while Zin Mar Nwe’s decision to stab the victim was emotional and irrational, it did not indicate an abnormality of mind caused by mental illness.


During the trial, it was revealed that Zin Mar Nwe had arrived in Singapore on January 5, 2018, and despite her passport indicating she was 23 years old, investigations later confirmed her age as 17. She had been working for the victim’s son-in-law since May 10, 2018, residing with him, his wife, and their two teenage daughters.

The tragic incident occurred on June 25, 2018, following a dispute between Zin Mar Nwe and the victim. The victim informed Zin Mar Nwe that she would be sent back to her agent the next day. In response, Zin Mar Nwe took a knife and stabbed the victim 26 times until she stopped moving. Afterward, she retrieved her belongings from a locked cupboard, washed the knife, changed into a dress, and left the premises.

Zin Mar Nwe initially went to her maid agency to retrieve her passport but left upon hearing that her employers were going to be contacted. She wandered around Singapore for about five hours before returning to the agency, where she was subsequently arrested. During her arrest, Zin Mar Nwe provided various accounts of the incident to the police, including fabricating the involvement of two fictitious men in the murder., according to CNA.

In her defense, Zin Mar Nwe claimed to have suffered from mixed anxiety and depressive reaction or adjustment disorder, seeking to rely on the partial defense of diminished responsibility. She argued that she was in a dissociative state during the stabbing and could not control or recall her actions. However, Justice Maniam dismissed this defense, citing inconsistencies with Zin Mar Nwe’s behavior following the incident.

The court accepted that there were instances of physical altercations between Zin Mar Nwe and the victim, with both parties retaliating at times. However, Justice Maniam noted that the victim’s treatment of the domestic helper was not a direct cause of the stabbing. Instead, Zin Mar Nwe’s fear of being sent back to her agent and returned to Myanmar in debt, triggered by the victim’s threat, played a role in the tragic outcome.

Addressing Zin Mar Nwe, Justice Maniam stated that the defense of diminished responsibility had not been established, leading to her conviction for murder. The prosecution clarified that they would not seek the death penalty, and Zin Mar Nwe is represented by lawyer Christopher Bridges under the Legal Assistance Scheme for Capital Offenses.

The sentencing hearing is scheduled for a later date, following the submission of written arguments from the involved parties. For the crime of murder, Zin Mar Nwe could face either the death penalty or life imprisonment, as caning is not applicable to female offenders.

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