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Singapore

Man followed 7-year-old girl, who had left home to buy snack, into lift and molested her

Ravichandran Subramaniam followed the girl, who tried to hide behind a pillar, into a lift where he picked her up and molested her as she struggled.

 Man followed 7-year-old girl, who had left home to buy snack, into lift and molested her

File photo of a little girl. (Photo: iStock)

SINGAPORE: A seven-year-old girl who left her home to buy a snack from a nearby provision shop was confronted with a man who asked to meet her again when she returned.

Although she had no intention of doing so, the man was waiting for her when she returned with her snack and followed her into the lift.

He picked her up and molested her while she was inside the elevator.

Ravichandran Subramaniam, 57, was sentenced on Wednesday (Nov 23) to four years' jail, with an additional three months in lieu of caning. 

He pleaded guilty to one count of using criminal force to outrage the girl's modesty, with wrongful restraint used to commit the offence. A second charge was considered in sentencing.

The court heard that Ravichandran was a part-time cleaner staying in a flat in the eastern part of Singapore. He had a habit of drinking alcohol daily.

On Aug 2 this year, he drank three cans of beer before lunch and two cans after.

That afternoon, the victim told her parents she was going to a nearby provision shop to buy a snack. 

ACCUSED APPROACHES GIRL

As she left home and made her way alone to the shop, Ravichandran noticed the girl walking through the void deck.

He asked her where she was going, and she said that she was going to buy a snack at a provision shop.

Ravichandran told her to meet him there when she got back. The girl bought her snack and had no intention of meeting Ravichandran, but he met her as she was walking back home.

He asked her which snack she bought and told her to follow him, before walking towards the lift landing of a multi-storey car park.

The girl refused to follow him and continued to walk home, but Ravichandran trailed behind her.

When the girl realised that he was following her, she ran away and hid briefly behind a pillar, but Ravichandran continued to follow her.

She then went to the lift landing of her block, where Ravichandran caught up with her and held her hand.

She entered the lift with Ravichandran. Once the lift doors closed, Ravichandran approached the girl from behind and wrapped one arm around her abdomen and the other around her legs.

He molested her and briefly carried her in this manner. The girl struggled throughout but could not break free, the court heard.

Ravichandran then covered the girl's mouth with his hand and molested her again.

When the lift got to her level, the girl broke free of Ravichandran's grasp and dashed out, followed by Ravichandran.

She ran home, crying and shouting for her mother in fear. Her mother opened the door and saw Ravichandran following her daughter.

He claimed that he was only accompanying her home and denied committing any act. The girl's mother called the police after finding out what happened, and Ravichandran was arrested that same day.

He was intoxicated, incoherent and had no memory of the offence at the time. He was remanded at the Institute of Mental Health for psychiatric evaluation and found to be suffering from alcohol intoxication and alcohol use disorder at the time.

However, there was no contributory link between his condition and the offences, and he was found to be fit to plead.

PROSECUTION ASKS FOR CORRECTIVE TRAINING REPORT

The prosecutor asked for a pre-sentencing report to assess Ravichandran's suitability for corrective training, a harsh regime with no early release aimed at repeat offenders.

He said Ravichandran had a long list of past convictions.

However, the judge pointed out that only one of them was a sexual offence, and this conviction was in 2011.

In mitigation, Ravichandran asked for forgiveness and said he would not reoffend.

"I am very old already and I am pleading for your honour's leniency considering my age," he said through an interpreter.

"I am undergoing counselling for my alcoholism and also trying to seek help from prison doctors on how to stop this habit."

The judge declined to call for a corrective training report, saying that such a sentence would be excessive in this case.

Source: CNA/ll(ac)
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