SINGAPORE: Unsatisfied with how his girlfriend responded to his requests for sex, a 35-year-old man turned instead to her 13-year-old daughter.
He locked the girl, who has special needs, in a bedroom and threatened to splash acid on her before molesting her and sexually assaulting her.
The man, who cannot be named due to a gag order preventing the publication of anything that would identify the victim, was sentenced to 12 years' jail and 15 strokes of the cane on Friday (Nov 8).
The court heard that the jobless man was a divorcee with a son from a previous marriage.
He began dating the victim's 39-year-old mother in 2015 and later moved into her flat in Sembawang.
In late March 2017, the man smoked methamphetamine and tried to have sex with his girlfriend twice, "but was dissatisfied with her response to him each time", said Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Zu Zhao.
The woman left for work between 6am and 7am on Mar 28, 2017, leaving her boyfriend at home with her daughter and his son in the flat.
The man smoked meth again and began repairing a bicycle in a bedroom, while the 13-year-old victim prepared for school.
When she entered the bedroom to get her school bag, the man closed the door and locked it. He then approached her, took out a gas lighter and lit it.
He told the girl not to tell anyone, or he would splash acid on her.
The girl began to cry and slumped down on the ground, leaning against the wall.
The man then molested her, ignoring her pleas to stop. He then removed her clothes and sexually assaulted her.
The girl kept telling him that she was late for school and needed to leave, and he eventually stopped and opened the door for her to go.
She then got dressed and left for school.
GIRL ASKS TO LEAVE HOUSE WITH MOTHER, CRIES
Later that night, the girl went to her mother and asked if she could leave the house with her the next day.
Taken aback, the woman thought her daughter's behaviour was very strange, as she usually left for work in the morning while the child had school only in the afternoon.
The following morning, the girl woke up before her mother left for work and began to cry badly as her mother was about to leave.
The woman felt that the victim seemed to be afraid of something and took leave that day to stay with her.
She told her mother what the accused had done, and the woman immediately confronted her boyfriend, who lied that he had done nothing to the child.
However, the woman did not believe him and took her daughter to a police station to lodge a report.
He was arrested by police later that same day and said he had consumed meth. Urine samples he provided were found to contain meth.
The man pleaded guilty to several charges including sexual penetration of a minor below 14, using criminal force to outrage a minor's modesty, wrongful confinement of a minor and drug offences.
The prosecution asked for at least 13 years' jail and 15 strokes of the cane, pointing out that there was exploitation of "an exceptionally vulnerable victim" and the use of threat and violence.
The man has a string of previous convictions for offences such as theft of a motor vehicle, unlawful carnal connection with a minor and sale of obscene books.
The defence said the victim was "not materially younger" than the stipulated age of 14 in the charge, and said it was a "one-off incident" with "no repeated pattern of offending".
"He's shown genuine remorse and has pleaded guilty, saving the victim the trauma of coming to the court to relive the experience," said lawyer Pramnath Vijayakumar from the Law Society Pro Bono Services.
He added that the man is no longer in a relationship with the victim's mother, has no access to the victim and is "not in any position to have a similar incident happen again".
ACCUSED KNEW VICTIM HAD SPECIAL NEEDS
The prosecutor said he was "surprised at how the defence has tried to downplay that (the victim) has special needs".
"I think we cannot downplay the fact that she was a special needs student, and the fact that the accused was aware she attended a special needs school when he assaulted her," he said.
He added that the accused was the only adult man in the household, with his girlfriend feeling comfortable enough to leave her daughter with him.
For sexual penetration of a minor under 14, the man could have been jailed between eight and 20 years and given at least 12 strokes of the cane.
For restraining a person under 14 in order to molest her, he could have been jailed between three and 10 years and caned.
For consuming meth, he could have been jailed for up to 10 years, fined up to S$20,000 or both.
For possessing utensils for drug consumption, he could have been jailed for up to three years, fined a maximum of S$10,000, or both.