He began sexually abusing his stepdaughter when she was 12 years old, and carried on for six years.
The 45-year-old man promised to stop his abuse after his stepdaughter turned 18. But when the man broke his promise, the victim and her mother made a police report.
On Thursday (7 February), the man, who worked as a driver, was sentenced to 24 years’ jail and 24 strokes of the cane after he pleaded guilty to three counts of sexually penetrating a minor under the age of 14.
He had 18 other charges of a sexual nature, including molesting his stepdaughter, taken into consideration for his sentencing.
The man cannot be named to protect the identity of the woman, now 20.
In 2007, the stepdaughter’s biological mother married the man. The girl was then very close to the man and they had a good relationship, according to the prosecution.
“Both (the mother) and the victim trusted (the man) in his capacity as husband and stepfather,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor Raja Mohan, adding that the mother did not prevent her husband from being alone with the victim.
Some time in 2010, the stepdaughter and her family, including the man, moved to stay in Johor Bahru. The stepdaughter commuted daily to Singapore for her studies. She would stay with her grandmother – the man’s mother – at the latter’s flat in Woodlands after school until the man sent her back to Johor Bahru.
The man began sexually abusing his stepdaughter in early 2010 at their home in Johor Bahru by getting the victim, then 12, to masturbate him.
Some time in 2011, the man brought his stepdaughter to the flat in Woodlands, before making her perform a sexual act on him despite her protest. They were alone in the flat at the time.
A few months later, the man went to the flat to fetch the victim after school. When the man realised that no one else was around, he molested the victim and forced her to perform a sexual act on him.
In early 2012, the stepdaughter and her family moved from Johor Bahru to a flat in Bukit Merah. A few days later, the man again preyed on his stepdaughter while her siblings and mother were sleeping.
The man persisted in committing various perverse acts on his stepdaughter for the next five years. Before the stepdaughter turned 18, he promised to stop sexually abusing her after her birthday but failed to do so.
Some time in 2017, after another instance of sexual abuse, the stepdaughter confided in her mother. Shocked by the revelation, the mother told her daughter to stay with the latter’s biological father. The daughter also changed her phone number.
Both mother and daughter decided against making a police report then.
A few months later, the stepdaughter moved back to Bukit Merah at the start of her school holidays. Barely a day later, the man again sexually abused his stepdaughter.
Both mother and daughter lodged a police report that afternoon and the man was later arrested.
Following an interview with a psychiatrist, the man was diagnosed as a paedophile but deemed to be able to have self-control. The man was assessed to be at a moderate risk of reoffending.
DPP Raja urged the court to impose a 26-year jail sentence on the man as well as cane him 24 strokes. The man had abused the trust given to him by his family and taken steps to isolate the victim before abusing her, said the prosecution.
“The victim felt that she was neither able to resist the (man) nor inform her mother about the offences at an earlier stage. She thus suffered in silence for approximately six years,” said the prosecution.
The man’s pro bono lawyer, Melvin Loh, said that his client had cooperated with investigations and spared the victim the trauma of testifying in court.
He added that the man was the sole breadwinner to a family of seven, including two daughters he fathered with the victim’s mother.
For sexually penetrating a minor under 14 years old, the man could have been jailed between eight and 20 years, with at least 12 strokes of the cane on each count.