She sensed a stranger in her bedroom.
But before she could react, the man, who had been standing beside her bed, pounced on her and covered her mouth.
During a struggle, he managed to touch the woman's private parts.
He fled only when she managed to break free of his grip on her mouth and screamed for help.
The criminal force used in the outrage of modesty committed on May 14, 2011, at about 7.30am, was recounted in court yesterday.
Muhamad Nizam Ahmad 31, was sentenced to a total of five years in jail and nine strokes of the cane.
Between 2009 and 2014, he was responsible for a spate of house-breaking by night, molest and house-trespass.
We are not naming his victims to protect their identity.
Of the 16 offences Nizam was charged with, the prosecution proceeded with six charges.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Michelle Lu told the court that Nizam, who was not represented by a lawyer, had targeted specific residential areas and had even house-trespassed a unit on two separate occasions.
Ms Lu had recommended a jail sentence of not less than five years.
One of the aggravating factors she cited was that Nizam's "hard-to-detect" crime spree was premeditated.
She added that he "was a serial offender looking for units to steal from and victims to molest".
The court also heard a similar molest and house-breaking attempt by Nizam on July 27, 2010.
At about 5am, a woman woke up when she felt Nizam kissing her.
As he was kissing her, he also touched her private parts through her clothes.
Nizam escaped only after she flung her arm out at him.
A sum of $20, which had been taken from her wallet, was found outside her flat.
Before passing sentence, District Judge Toh Yung Cheong said the offence committed by Nizam was "extremely serious".
Mr Toh added that everybody has the right to feel safe and secure at home.
Fortunately, Nizam was unsuccessful on some occasions.
An attempt in October 2014 at around 6.10am was foiled when a woman, who was half-awake in bed, heard a squeaking sound from her room door.
When she saw Nizam carrying a torch and slowly opening the door, she screamed for her helper.
An incident in August 2014 ended the same way.
The victim had been asleep on a couch at home at about 5.30am when she woke and saw Nizam, standing an arm's length away.
Realising she was awake, Nizam fled.
For committing house-breaking by night, he could have been jailed between two and 14 years.
If convicted of using criminal force to outrage a woman's modesty, he could be jailed for up to two years, caned or fined.
ALWAYS LOCK DOOR AND GATE
The most important lesson to be learnt from Muhamad Nizam Ahmad's crime-spree is to check that your doors and gates are locked before you go to sleep.
In most of his burglary attempts, Nizam gained entry into his victims' homes because somebody had forgotten to lock the door.
In a failed October 2014 house-breaking attempt, the victim admitted her father had "forgotten to lock the door".
The same happened in August 2014, when the victim's brother-in-law had forgotten to lock the main door and metal grille gate.
Even a locked gate presented no problem to Nizam on July 27, 2010.
That was because the key to the gate had been left hanging beside the unlocked wooden door. All Nizam had to do was to use a broom to "fish" for the key.
Here are some tips from the police to avoid falling victim to burglars:
Make it a habit to secure windows, metal gates and other openings with good-quality grilles and close-shackled padlocks.
Install a burglar alarm or closed-circuit surveillance camera to monitor access points.
Test your security equipment periodically.
Do not keep large sums of cash or expensive jewellery.
This article was first published on May 12, 2015.
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