Originally charged with murder, which carries a mandatory death penalty, Indonesian domestic worker Fitriah, also known as Vitria Depsi Wahyuni, has had her charge reduced to culpable homicide, reported the Straits Times on January 20, 2012.

She is accused of killing her elderly employer, Madam Sng Gek Wah, 87, at the latter’s Serangoon Gardens home in 2009.

Now 19, Fitriah underdeclared her age when seeking work in Singapore. Photo from the Straits Times

Although no reason was given in court why the charge was reduced, it was disclosed that she was in fact 16 years old at the time of the incident, even though her documents indicated her age to be 23. Fitriah had changed her identity and age in Indonesia in order to get a job in Singapore. She had been working for Madam Sng for less than a week.

Madam Sng was strangled some time between 8 p.m. on Nov 25 and 3.15 a.m. on November 26, at her own home in Farleigh Avenue. Fitriah is reported to have left the house at about 3 a.m. She had stopped a taxi and asked the driver to call the police.

If she is convicted of culpable homicide, she could be jailed for life, or up to 20 years, and fined. Her next hearing has been fixed for February 15, when she is expected to plead guilty.