SINGAPORE: A man whose family had a good relationship with their neighbours, even acquiring a key to the other family's main gate to help with errands, wound up molesting the neighbours' eight-year-old daughter.
The Malaysian national and Singapore permanent resident showed her pornographic material, pulled down her clothes and molested her, until the child told her mother about it.
The 47-year-old man, who had originally been set to claim trial for attempted rape, pleaded guilty on Tuesday (Sep 10) to two charges of using criminal force on a minor intending to outrage her modesty.
Two other charges of showing obscene objects to the child will be taken into consideration, while another eight charges were withdrawn.
The man and the victim cannot be named due to gag orders issued by the court.
The court heard that the offender lived with his wife and her parents in a house that was separated from the victim's two-storey house by a fence.
The victim lived in the house with her parents, her aunt and her grandmother.
VICTIM'S GRANDMOTHER ON GOOD TERMS WITH NEIGHBOURS, GAVE THEM KEY
Her grandmother had a good relationship with the accused's parents-in-law and had given the accused's mother-in-law the key to her main gate, in order to help collect mail and help start the car engine.
While the victim's father was overseas for nine months in 2015, she would go over to her neighbours' place for meals, accompanied by her mother.
During this time, she often visited the accused's home alone, with her mother's permission, for snacks or to play computer games. She would also play with the iPad in the accused's bedroom, and sometimes be alone with him there.
In September 2017, the victim's father asked the accused to help fix the water heater in the victim's home.
The accused went over and helped his neighbour fix the water heater, before going home.
However, after the victim's father left for work, the accused returned to the victim's house on the pretext of fixing the water heater.
He went to the bedroom where the victim was and showed her an obscene photo of a child, as well as a video of a man in a sex act with a girl.
He then molested the girl, who pushed him out of the door and tried to shut it. However, the accused said "please, please, please", and the victim retreated back into the bedroom.
The man re-entered the bedroom and pulled down the girl's underwear. She pulled them back up and went downstairs to tell her aunt that the accused did not fix the water heater, while he left the house.
MAN LIED TO WIFE ABOUT GOING TO WORK, VISITED VICTIM
The next incident occurred a few months later in December 2017.
The man had previously told the victim from across the fence separating their houses that he wanted to go over to her place, and the girl said he could go over on Dec 1, 2017.
While waiting for the day to arrive, the man told his wife that he would have to go back to his workplace at Marina Bay Sands on Dec 1 to do some packing work, even though he had no work that day.
She decided to go with him to run some errands, and they went to Marina Bay Sands on the afternoon of Dec 1, 2017. While she went shopping, her husband said he would be going to work, but instead rode his motorcycle back to the victim's house.
He unlocked the gate using the key his parents-in-law had and told the girl, who was alone at home, that the main door was not locked.
He then followed her into her parents' bedroom, where the victim searched for "sex videos" on her laptop and watched pornographic videos with the accused.
The man then removed the girl's clothes and his own before molesting her, engaging in sex acts with her and showing the girl a pornographic cartoon film.
After this, he picked his wife up from Marina Bay Sands.
GIRL TOLD MOTHER ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED, FAMILIES MET
In the next few days that followed, the girl repeatedly told her mother to retrieve the key to their main gate from their neighbours.
She eventually told her mother that the accused had gone to their house, showed her an obscene video and molested her.
Her mother confronted the accused on the morning of Dec 6, 2017, but the man denied any wrongdoing. His wife pleaded with the victim's mother to give the accused a chance and not to report the matter to the police.
When both families from both houses met and spoke that night, the accused admitted to his actions and went with the victim's mother to a police station to lodge a report.
He will return to court for mitigation and sentencing on Sep 12.
For each charge of using criminal force to outrage the victim's modesty, he could be jailed for up to five years, fined, caned, or given any combination of these punishments.