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Singapore

Man jailed for raping 14-year-old daughter while wife received cancer treatment

Man jailed for raping 14-year-old daughter while wife received cancer treatment

File photo of the Supreme Court in Singapore. (Photo: AFP)

SINGAPORE: A man who raped his 14-year-old daughter continued to do so after his wife had to undergo treatment for cancer.

The 44-year-old man was on Monday (Aug 8) sentenced to 24 years' jail and the statutory maximum of 24 strokes of the cane.

The victim's identity is protected by gag order, and the offender cannot be named as he is her biological father.

He pleaded guilty to three counts of rape. Another eight counts of rape, molestation and sexual assault by penetration were considered for sentencing.

The court heard that the man first sexually abused his daughter in May 2019, and this continued for several months.

VICTIM PRETENDED TO BE ASLEEP

In October 2019, while the rest of the family was asleep, the man entered the victim's bedroom and sexually assaulted the girl before raping her.

The victim pretended to be asleep throughout the ordeal, while her sister slept on the mattress next to her.

The man committed the offence on another night in November 2019, and again in the early hours of Dec 2, 2019. Each time, the victim pretended to be asleep. 

On that last occasion, the girl's mother entered her daughters' bedroom sometime after the assault.

She saw her husband kneeling next to the girl's bed naked from the waist down and hit him, asking how he could do such a thing.

The victim started crying, and so did her sister who awoke from the commotion. The man apologised to his wife and left the bedroom.

The girl did not report the assaults as she saw that her family was financially dependent on her father after her mother started receiving cancer treatment.

She did not want to upset or worry her mother during her treatment, said Deputy Public Prosecutors Shen Wanqin and Benjamin Samynathan.

She was also afraid of her father and thought that he would be stronger than her if she tried to resist him, said the prosecutors.

After that incident, the victim's mother changed her children's sleeping arrangements by moving the victim and her sister to the same bedroom as their other siblings.

The sexual abuse stopped.

WIFE WAS IN HOSPITAL

In 2020, the victim's mother was admitted to hospital.

That same night, the man entered his children's bedroom and sat on the victim's mattress. He left the room shortly after as he was startled by the sound of his son sneezing loudly.

The next day, the victim told her mother about the incident over text messages.

The mother returned home a few days later and confronted her husband about what had happened.

When she asked why he had gone into the children's bedroom, her husband kept quiet and did not respond.

A few days later, the mother decided to apply for a personal protection order for her children against their father, as she wanted to protect them from him in her absence.

She took the victim to the police station where the girl told officers that her father had raped her the previous year.

According to an assessment by an Institute of Mental Health psychiatrist, the offender had no mental illness, was not of unsound mind during the offences and was not intellectually disabled.

The victim's mother has since died from her illness.

"THE WORST TYPE OF RAPE"

The prosecution sought the sentence imposed, citing the offender's abuse of trust and the vulnerability of the young victim as aggravating factors.

"No child should be exploited in such a manner, particularly by the very ones they trust and look to for love and protection," they said.

Mr Samynathan highlighted that some of the offences took place after the children's mother started receiving cancer treatment, which was a stressful time for the victim.

He also pointed out that even after the offender was caught by his wife, he went into his daughter's bedroom again when he was alone with his children.

Defence counsel Vigneesh Nainar asked for a shorter jail term of 22 to 24 years, highlighting his client's shame and remorse for his actions.

The lawyer said his client understood that his children did not want to have contact with him anymore and "despise" him.

"This loss in itself is a punishment for him," said Mr Nainar.

Justice Dedar Singh Gill said that a father's rape of a young and vulnerable daughter was "the worst type of rape" and "creates turmoil in the family".

A wrong decision may mean the victim's ordeal continues and the offender does not get his punishment, said the judge.

"No young girl should find herself in this position," he said, pointing to how the victim did not report her father earlier given the family's financial dependence on him.

He also noted that the victim's mother only changed the sleeping arrangements but did not report the offences after her initial discovery.

The penalty for rape is up to 20 years in jail and a fine or caning.

Source: CNA/dv(gs)

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