Jail, caning for man who sexually assaulted girlfriend's special needs daughter, 13

Wan Ting Koh
Photo from Getty Images

SINGAPORE — After being disappointed by his girlfriend’s response to having sex with him, a man locked her 13-year-old daughter in the room and sexually assaulted her after threatening her with a gas lighter.

The 35-year-old old man, who cannot be named due to a gag order, had smoked methamphetamine twice prior to preying on the girl, who about to leave home to attend special school.

At the time of the incident in 2017, the man had dated her mother for two years and moved in with mother-and-daughter, along with the victim’s younger sister. The man’s son would also stay over on occasion.

The man was jailed 12 years and given 15 strokes of the cane on Friday (8 November) after he pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated sexual assault of a minor under 14, one count of aggravated molest of the same girl, and one count of consuming methamphetamine.

The facts of the case

Between 27 and 28 March 2017, the man smoked methamphetamine and attempted to have sex with his girlfriend, 39, twice, but was disappointed with her response. After his girlfriend left for work between 6am and 7am on 28 March, the man consumed drugs again and entered the bedroom at about 9am, when his girlfriend’s daughter, who is now 16, had just woken up. 

After the girl had bathed, she went to the bedroom to take her school bag. At this point, the man closed and locked the bedroom door. He then pointed a gas lighter with the flame turned on and held it up in a threatening manner, said the prosecution.

He told her to keep the incident a secret and threatened to splash acid on her. The girl began to cry and lay down on the ground when the man molested her, ignoring her pleas to stop.

The man then removed the girl’s shorts and underwear before sexually assaulting her. He stopped only after the girl said several times that she would be late for school. He opened the door and allowed the girl to leave. She then dressed herself and greeted the man before leaving home. 

The next day, the girl asked her mother if she could leave the flat together.

“The mother was taken aback and thought the victim’s behaviour very strange because she would leave for work very early in the mornings while the victim only had school in the afternoon,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Zu Zhao.

The following morning, the girl woke up before her mother left for work and cried upon knowing her mother was leaving. The mother felt that her daughter was afraid and took leave to stay with her.

On 30 March 2017, the girl confided in her mother about the incident and the latter confronted the man, who denied the acts. Not believing him, the woman brought her daughter to lodge a police report and the man was arrested that day. 

He confessed to the drug offences and admitted ownership of drug-taking paraphernalia. His urine sample tested positive for methamphetamine.

The man has previously been jailed for other offences, including having sex with a girl below the age of 16 when he was 18 years old, distributing uncensored films and selling obscene books, and stealing a motor vehicle. 

The man had abused his position of familiarity and trust, exploiting an exceptionally vulnerable victim, said DPP Lee. The DPP sought 13 years’ jail and 15 strokes of the cane for him. 

Pro bono lawyer Pramnath Vijayakumar disputed the extent of the vulnerability of the victim as an aggravating factor, saying that while she was a special needs student, she was still able to communicate the incident to her mother.

Pramnath also pointed out that the man’s 2002 conviction relating to carnal connection with a 16-year-old woman was dated, adding that sexual intercourse between the man and his then-girlfriend was consensual.

“(The man) is no longer in a relationship with the victim’s mother and therefore has no access to the child and is in no position to have a similar thing happen again,” said the lawyer.

The man has also shown remorse over the “one-off incident” and spared the victim the trauma of testifying in court by pleading guilty, he added.

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