He started touching the 17-year-old girl’s body, including her thigh and chest, in early 2012.
When she did not report the incidents to her mother, the man – whom the girl called “Uncle” – grew bolder and attempted to rape the girl, stopping only when the girl’s elder sister walked in on them.
The 42-year-old deliveryman, who cannot be named to protect the victim’s identity, was in a relationship with the girl’s mother at the time and had moved in with the family in late 2011.
Following 12 days of trial between August 2016 and July last year, the man was found guilty of two counts of attempted rape, one count of sexual assault by digital penetration and one count of outraging the girl’s modesty. He was sentenced to 13 years’ jail and 15 strokes of the cane on Monday (5 March).
The girl’s father died in December 2010 and her mother entered into a relationship with the man in 2011. According to the prosecution, the girl had looked up to the man as her mother’s boyfriend and an elder.
A few months into the relationship, the man began sleeping over at the mother’s flat, where he shared the master bedroom with the girl and her mother. The girl’s sister slept in a separate bedroom.
The man would stay over up to five times a week and wore only his boxers around the flat, which made the girl and her sister feel uncomfortable.
In the early hours of 11 March 2012, the girl and the man were left alone in the unit as the mother had gone out to celebrate a friend’s birthday.
The girl was sleeping on her bed when she woke up in pain. She realised that the man had sexually assaulted her after slipping his hand into her shorts.
Feeling scared, the girl turned over to lie on her stomach. The man then attempted to rape her. The girl tried to move away but he pulled her back and attempted to rape her a second time.
The girl struggled and pushed the man away, although the man continued to molest her. The girl then bit the man on his left arm, causing the man to laugh and return to his own bed.
The girl then pretended to be asleep but the man returned after a while and molested the girl once more. He only stopped after he heard the sound of keys at the flat’s front door.
The girl did not tell her mother about the incident as she feared damaging her mother’s relationship with the man.
Two days later, the girl’s mother instructed her to assist the man on his delivery rounds. Later that day, the man asked the girl to accompany him to a hotel, claiming that he wanted to shower and rest.
The girl declined and the man drove to a nearby multi-storey carpark where he asked the girl to get into the back of the van. The man drove the girl home after she repeatedly refused to obey him.
That night, the girl was lying on her bed watching television when the man once again made advances on her. After a brief period of struggling, the man rubbed his privates against the girl, who repeatedly kicked him in the groin. Instead of being deterred, this caused the man to laugh.
He then bit the girl’s breast and tried to kiss her. The girl turned her head and noticed her sister standing at the door. Upon seeing the sister, the man went back to his bed while smiling at the girl.
The sister later contacted her then-boyfriend and her mother, who scolded her for leaving the girl in the house with the man. The girl’s cousins, who were notified of the incident, called the police.
One of the girl’s cousins testified that on the night of the second incident, the girl’s mother had confronted the man and prevented him from leaving the flat, saying to him, “I was so nice to you, why did you do that to me?”
In reply, the man had said in Hokkien, “Your daughter is going to lose her virginity one day, so might as well I do it now.”
The cousin testified that the man had used a Hokkien phrase which was understood to mean, “breaking (the victim’s) virginity”.
In a separate hearing held after the man was convicted, psychiatrist Francis Ngui testified that the girl suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorder in relation to the incidents.
The psychiatrist also testified that the girl was “possibly devastated” after her mother got back together with the man after the incident. “It was like a wound that had not healed had been opened again when her mother reunited with the (man),” said Ngui.
The girl’s mother is no longer with the man, who was represented by lawyers R S Bajwa and Kertar Singh. The prosecution had sought a sentence of at least 14 years’ jail and 15 strokes of the cane.
More Singapore stories: