SINGAPORE: Wanting to intimidate his ex-girlfriend, a man broke into the woman's flat and tied up her young daughters and maid before confronting his former beau about another man and a debt she purportedly owed.
During the attack, the ex-girlfriend was tied up with masking tape, cable ties and rope, and suffered cuts on her arms, bruises on her legs and an abrasion on her wrist.
She also "had sexual intercourse" with the man as she was afraid of his threats and wanted to distract him, fearing what he might do to her and her daughters, the prosecutor said.
For his list of crimes, the 38-year-old man was, on Monday (Jul 13), sentenced to five years and nine months' jail and six strokes of the cane.
He cannot be named due to gag orders protecting the identities of the victims.
The man pleaded guilty to six charges including housebreaking by night, criminal intimidation, voluntarily causing hurt and wrongful confinement. Another four charges were taken into consideration.
The court heard that the relationship between the man and his ex-girlfriend ended around January 2019.
The woman lived with her maid and her two daughters aged seven and 10 in a flat.
BROKE INTO FLAT, TIED UP MAID AND DAUGHTERS
At about 2.30am on Mar 16 last year, the man broke into his ex-girlfriend's flat by opening the unlocked front door.
He reached into the front gate to take a key that was hanging on a wall and opened the lock on the front gate.
He knew where the key was as he had found out about it during his relationship with the victim.
He had prepared to restrain the victims by taking with him various items including masking tape, cable ties and rope.
After entering the flat, he went into his ex-girlfriend's bedroom, where her daughters were sleeping.
When they screamed, the maid came in to check on the children, but the man pushed her against a wardrobe, causing her to hit her head and back against the drawers.
The maid suffered an abrasion behind her ear and a bruise on her hip.
After recovering from the push, the maid recognised the man and saw the knife in his hand.
The man told the maid that his ex-girlfriend owed him about S$6,000 and that he was looking for her, but the domestic worker replied that she did not know what time her employer would return home.
The man then tied up the maid and the two children with the masking tape, cable ties and rope and instructed them to move to the maid's bedroom.
He instructed them to lie down on the bed and keep quiet, before moving a gas cylinder from the kitchen to the entrance of the maid's bedroom, threatening them that he would blow up the flat if they did not keep quiet. He also placed masking tape over the three victims' mouths.
PINNED EX-GIRLFRIEND DOWN WHEN SHE RETURNED HOME
At about 3am, the man's ex-girlfriend returned home. When she entered, the man forcefully pinned her down to the floor, holding a knife to her neck and instructing her to keep quiet.
The woman suffered cuts on her neck and a bruise under the jaw as a result.
The man then took her to the bedroom where her maid and children were held. He threatened her, saying he would blow up the unit if she did anything stupid, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Wei Liang.
The man then took his ex-girlfriend to her bedroom, where she saw another gas cylinder at the entrance.
He tied up her hands and feet and she sustained more cuts on the back of her arms and bruises on her legs.
The man instructed her to pass over her handphone and looked through her messages, confronting her about a male friend she had been texting, and also about the debt she allegedly owed the accused.
During the confrontation, he sat on the gas cylinder and threatened to blow up the flat, switching the gas cylinder on and flicking the wheel of a lighter he held to expose its flame.
The woman kept pleading with the accused to release her, and he eventually cut the cable ties and rope around her wrists, voicing his unhappiness with her attire.
He cut up the jeans and black top she was wearing with a knife, and the woman repeatedly tried to pacify him by saying that she would not contact her male friend anymore and that she would not report the incident.
"She also had sexual intercourse with the accused," said the prosecutor. "She did so as she remained fearful of the accused's threats and wanted to distract him in fear of what he might do to her and her children."
The woman managed to persuade her ex-boyfriend to untie her maid and children sometime after 7.30am.
The man then took the members of the household for breakfast, and his ex-girlfriend spent the day with him, wanting to seek help but afraid to do so as the man had a knife with him.
She kept up the ruse until the next day, when she managed to call the maid and instruct her to ask for help to lodge a police report.
The accused was arrested by the police on the evening of Mar 17, 2019, in Woodlands. Several items were seized from him including a kitchen knife, two hammers, a Swiss Army knife and a screwdriver.
Other items that were later seized included the ex-girlfriend's cut clothes, some rope, masking tape and cable ties.
DAUGHTERS RESTRAINED FOR FIVE HOURS
The prosecutor asked for at least five years and nine months' jail and six strokes of the cane, citing a "high degree of premeditation" and an abuse of trust.
The man knew where the key was because of his previous relationship with the victim, and it was "particularly aggravating" that the two young children were restrained for five hours, said Mr Lee.
The domestic helper, the ex-girlfriend and her two children were "ambushed in their own home, the very place in which they should have expected to be safe", said Mr Lee.
The man's repeated threats to blow up the flat were threats to kill not just one person but all the occupants, he added.
These threats were compounded by the fact that the ex-girlfriend was assaulted, had a knife held to her neck and was faced with the sight of her daughters and maid lying helpless and tied up on a bed.
The man pleaded for leniency, saying that it was not planned and that he had not ambushed the victims.
For criminal intimidation with a threat to cause death, he could have been jailed for up to 10 years, fined, or both.
The penalties for wrongful confinement are a jail term of up to three years, a fine, or both.
For voluntarily causing hurt, he could have been jailed for up to three years, fined up to S$5,000, or both.
For housebreaking by night with preparations made to restrain the victims, he could have been jailed between two and 14 years and caned.