SINGAPORE: A 42-year-old man on trial for strangling and raping his 30-year-old girlfriend said on Tuesday (Jun 11) that the injuries on her neck were love bites.
Taking the stand for the defence for the first time since his trial started earlier this year, the accused took the court through his version of events on Aug 6, 2017, the day he allegedly committed the offences.
The man and the victim, both Malaysians, cannot be named due to a court order.
"I gave her love bites," the accused said, specifying that they were on her neck and breast. He added that sex that day at the Ang Mo Kio flat they rented together was consensual.
“There’s no strangle. She didn’t move at all. It’s our normal usual having sex,” he told the court, sometimes referring to the victim as his wife.
In addressing allegations that he tore her T-shirt and bra before strangling and raping her, the accused said that at the time, they were in the bedroom and he had gone to hug her from the back.
She wanted to move away and the accused said he tried to hold her shoulder. He then heard her T-shirt tearing but did not see the tear, he said.
When he hugged her again, she hugged back and they kissed, he said. She willingly had sex with him, he added. Sometime after, she said she had pain in the stomach and he took her to a clinic which was about five minutes away.
When asked about the victim’s testimony that he had her pinned to the bed and could not escape, he said she was stronger than him.
“She’s more muscular than me,” he told the court.
VICTIM ALERTED DOCTOR
In the consultation room at the clinic, the victim sought help from the doctor and said something to him in Mandarin, a language which the accused did not understand.
According to the accused, when he asked what was wrong, his girlfriend threatened to call the police.
“She (the victim) said don't touch me, go away from me,” the accused said. He later left the clinic. From about a block away, he saw policemen at the clinic and did not return.
When asked to explain by his lawyer Ms Megan Chia, he said: “I was scared because in my life, I've never been to police station or made a police report.” He also said he sent several text messages to the victim to apologise and to ask her not to make a police report. She did not respond.
When asked why he apologised, he said: “I was trying to cool her down. I know her very well. At that time, maybe she was angry. Her favourite shirt was torn,” he said. When questioned about what she could be angry about, he said maybe it was because he was jobless or that someone had turned her against him.
After staying away from the flat until about 9pm, he returned. He was arrested the next day at the block.
MAN FELL IN LOVE THE FIRST TIME HE MET HER
The man painted a picture of a couple that was very much in love.
The court heard that they had bought a condominium apartment in Johor Bahru that they planned to stay in during their days off and also planned to get married. Their fights never lasted more than 10 minutes.
In 2011 when they met, the man was working at a restaurant in Raffles Hotel where the victim was a trainee. He broke down as he spoke about the time they met.
He was married at the time. Soon after, the two of them started a relationship and his wife filed for divorce.
“First time I met her, I already fall in love, first love in my entire life,” he told the court, adding that his marriage was a match-made one.
The parents of the victim, however, did not approve of their relationship and made her return to their hometown in Melaka. The couple managed to keep in touch and about four months later, the victim returned to Singapore.
MAN WAS RETRENCHED
They started living together and in February 2017, he was retrenched, the court heard. He returned to Malaysia as his work permit was cancelled, but was in and out of Singapore looking for a job.
On Jul 16, when she was in Singapore and he in Malaysia, she told him that she wanted to end the relationship. She did not mention any reason, he said. He did not agree to ending the relationship that way.
The man returned to the Ang Mo Kio flat on Aug 2. In the days that followed, she told him that she brought forward the termination of their rental agreement from the end of November to August
She said it was to save on the rental cost. On Aug 6, the day of the alleged rape, he asked if she still loved him and she said yes, he told the court. In wrapping her questioning for the day, his lawyer asked if he had anything to say to the victim or to the court.
“I did no rape, I did no strangle," he said. "I did not do anything wrong to her. I did not force her. I love her entirely, until today. I love her so much.”
If convicted of rape, the man faces 20 years in jail and a fine.