She thought of them as family when they took her in after she ran away from home in 2016.
But the women she called sister and auntie turned out to be her worst nightmare as they subjected her to horrific physical and psychological abuse in a reign of terror that lasted more than a year.
The victim, who has mild intellectual disability, was treated like a slave, the court heard yesterday.
By the end of her stay at the flat, she was chained half-naked in the toilet sitting in her own excrement, and forced to eat off the floor.
She was close to death after numerous beatings, which led to permanent deformities and visual disability.
In January 2018, she needed eight hours of resuscitation after she was rushed to hospital. It was then that the offences came to light.
New details about the torment inflicted on the woman, now 30, were revealed yesterday after sisters Haslinda Ismail, 34, and Hasniza Ismail, 39, pleaded guilty to a slew of offences.
Haslinda admitted to knocking the victim’s front teeth out with a hammer, scalding her with hot water and using pliers to twist and fracture a toe, which became deformed.
Another 14 charges, including beating the victim with a broomstick, hanger and rolled-up towel and making her eat food tainted with urine, were taken into consideration.
Hasniza, who faced 10 charges, admitted to buying a metal chain at the request of her mother, Hasmah Sulong, 70, and used it to wrongfully restrain the victim.
She also hit the victim’s arm with a baseball bat and obstructed justice by concocting a lie for her family to tell the cops.
When she moved in with the family, the victim, who was school friends with another sibling, was not charged rent.
She agreed to sleep on a mat in the living room and pay $150 monthly for laundry.
Haslinda made her hand over her ATM card, passport and NRIC, and spoke to Hasniza about making her their “babu”, or slave. Hasniza knew the victim was slow and thought she was “easy to eat”, the court heard.
The abuse started in the middle of 2016 when Haslinda accused the victim of performing a sex act on her husband.
She slapped the victim in front of her family and also made her husband slap her.
Later, she confiscated the victim’s phone, cutting her off from the outside world.
The victim had to stop working at a fast-food restaurant and was made to do chores for the family without pay.
She was chained every night, first to a baby swing bed in the living room and later to a metal plate mounted on a wall outside Hasniza’s room.
The family also threatened to smear her reputation if she tried to escape.
Haslinda’s abuse against the victim got worse until November 2017 when she moved to her new flat and vowed not to return after quarrelling with her sister who had tried to stop one of her assaults on the victim.
But the rest of the family continued abusing the woman until she was badly injured and became incontinent.
Instead of seeking medical help for the victim, they just applied antiseptic cream or solution on her wounds.
Hasniza washed the victim’s body repeatedly, using up 15 bottles of Dettol, but still found her smell unbearable. She also noticed the wounds were blistering and oozing pus.
It was only after the victim became too weak to get up or eat, and dark liquid started coming out of her mouth and nose, that Hasniza called an ambulance to take her to hospital, where doctors feared she would die from her injuries.
After the woman was hospitalised, Hasniza lied to the police about the abuse and told her brother Muhammad Iski, 30, to tell the same lie and to inform other relatives, including another brother, Muhammad Iskandar, 32, to do the same.
All three siblings later confessed to the police about lying.
Yesterday, Iski was jailed for eight months and Iskandar for two months and four weeks after pleading guilty to offences related to the abuse.
Citing abuse of trust and the heinous nature of the abuse, the prosecution sought 91/2 years’ jail for Haslinda and 39 months’ jail for Hasniza.
In mitigation, lawyer Audrey Koo said Haslinda’s mental state was affected during her offences as her father had died, her husband was in jail in Malaysia at the time, and she had a miscarriage.
She also said the victim had provoked Haslinda by making offensive remarks about her two sons, one of whom has global development delay.
Hasniza will be sentenced next Wednesday (Jan 13) and Haslinda the next day. Haslinda’s husband was jailed for his part in the abuse last year, while Hasmah’s case is pending.
This article was first published in The New Paper. Permission required for reproduction.