Man who got stranger to rape girlfriend as part of '50 Shades' sexual fantasy jailed, caned

Wan Ting Koh
Reporter
Singapore’s Supreme Court. PHOTO: Yahoo News Singapore

Watching the erotic movie 50 Shades of Grey sparked a 27-year-old Singaporean man’s interest in soft bondage sexual activities. After his girlfriend of two years rejected his proposal for a threesome, he persuaded her to let him bind and blindfold her during sex.

On one occasion, the woman, also 27, sensed that something was wrong. She took off her eye mask only to realise that she had been having sex with Srihari Mahendran – a complete stranger who had been abetted by the boyfriend.

To compound matters, she discovered later on that it was not the first time Srihari had raped her without her knowledge.

On Monday (26 November), the boyfriend, who was working as an auxiliary police officer at the time of the offence, admitted to two counts of abetment of rape and one count of abetment of sexual assault by penetration. He will serve 23 years 11 months and be given 24 strokes of the cane.

54 counts of a similar nature, including making obscene videos, were taken into consideration for sentencing. Another two victims, whose identities were not disclosed in court, were involved in these offences.

The man and his girlfriend both cannot be named to protect the woman’s identity. Srihari, who is  claiming trial to his charges, will have his trial heard in January next year.

Girlfriend loved and trusted him

According to court documents, the couple met through online dating app Paktor in September 2014 before becoming an item in November that year.

After watching 50 Shades, the man became interested in soft bondage – during which one party is tied or blindfolded during sex – and asked the woman to take part with him. Initially rejecting it as she was uncomfortable with the idea, she relented after her boyfriend cajoled her, telling her that they should try new things to “spice up” their relationship.

The prosecution said that the woman allowed herself to be tied as she wanted to please her boyfriend, whom she trusted and loved. The man also floated the idea of having another person participating in sexual activities with them, which the girlfriend firmly rejected.

The man would record the couple’s sexual activities, claiming that it was for his own viewing pleasure. The woman disliked the idea but relented when the man claimed he would delete them after his viewing.

Unbeknownst to his girlfriend, the man had a Tumblr account which he used to view pornography and have sex-related discussions with other users.

Through this platform, the man met Srihari and began to exchange lurid details and photos of their sexual activities with their respective girlfriends.

Hatching a plot with a stranger

In the course of their exchange, the man told Srihari about his sexual fantasy of watching a third party having sex with his girlfriend. The man then conceived a plan for both himself and Srihari to have sex with his girlfriend.

On 29 April 2016, when the couple checked into Hotel 81 Bugis, the man tied his girlfriend up and blindfolded her before asking Srihari to enter.  After the man engaged in sexual activities with his girlfriend, Srihari raped and sexually assaulted her.

The woman was unaware of what had transpired as she thought she was having sex with her boyfriend.

On 6 August that year, the girlfriend arranged a hotel staycation with the man in order to celebrate his birthday. Unknown to the woman, the man again used the opportunity to prepare for Srihari to violate his girlfriend.

In the early hours of 7 August, as the woman was sleeping in their hotel room, Srihari waited outside. The man tied the half-conscious woman up and blindfolded her before bringing Srihari into the room. Srihari proceeded to rape her.

The woman felt that something was wrong by then and tried to remove her eye mask. The man tried to distract his girlfriend by kissing her and telling her to go back to sleep.

After freeing her hands from her binds and removing her blindfold, she saw another person in the room, who was dark-skinned and plump. The man tried to block her view and stop her from wearing her spectacles. By the time she could see clearly, the stranger had fled.

The woman confronted the man, telling him that what the stranger had done to her was rape. She noticed the man’s laptop was switched on and forced him to play what he had recorded. She saw the stranger in the video.

The man apologised profusely, claiming that the act was carried out on the spur of the moment, and that he regretted his actions, but the woman went ahead and called the police. The man and Srihari were later arrested at the hotel.

Investigations later revealed that the man had also recorded the first occasion that Srihari had raped his girlfriend. The man had failed to mention this occasion when he was interviewed by Institute of Mental Health staff until a second interview.

The man had also initially sought to deny his offences, or pinned the blame on Srihari, whom he claimed he had tried to prevent from raping his girlfriend.

‘Flagrant’ abuse of the woman’s trust

At the High Court, Deputy Public Prosecutor Eunice Lau asked for 25 years and 24 strokes of the cane.

Said the DPP, ” The facts of this case are unprecedented – the 27-year-old male accused abetted the rape of his own girlfriend by orchestrating a threesome with his friend Srihari, on two separate occasions, without his girlfriend’s knowledge or consent.”

“(He) engineered the perpetration of these heinous acts by procuring the victim’s unwitting participation by physically restraining and blindfolding her as part of their sexual routines featuring such ‘soft-bondage’ elements.”

The DPP cited the man’s “flagrant” abuse of the woman’s trust and his planning of the offence as aggravating factors.

Describing the man as the “sole mastermind”, the DPP added, “It was he who initiated and conspired with Srihari to participate in his criminal endeavour, just so he could fulfil his perverse fantasy of seeing another male engage in sexual acts with his girlfriend.”

In mitigation, the man’s lawyer, Mohamed Baiross, said on behalf of his client that the man knew that his crimes were “heinous, reprehensible and deserved the condemnation of society”.

His client said his client was “genuinely remorseful” and prepared to testify against Srihari in court when the latter’s case is heard. The lawyer sought 20 years and 24 strokes for his client.

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