A 42-year-old cobbler befriended a schoolgirl aged 13 and even asked her parents if he could be her godfather. But within two weeks, he was having sex with her.
Terence Ng Kean Meng was sentenced yesterday to 14 years in prison and 14 strokes of the cane, after he admitted to three counts of statutory rape and penetrating the underage girl with his finger.
Ng had first noticed the Secondary 1 student in October 2013, when she started loitering around his makeshift stall outside Commonwealth MRT station.
When he approached her on Oct 17 and offered to take her home, she told him she was afraid to go home as she had run away.
After taking her back to her family, Ng discovered that she had run away from home for long stretches. He then offered to be the girl's godfather and help to take care of her. The victim's parents eventually agreed to this.
She began meeting Ng almost daily at his stall, hanging out with him until late at night when he would take her home. He also started bringing her over to his Tanglin Halt flat.
On the evening of Oct 29 that year, Ng and the victim were alone in his flat when she said she felt unwell and that she was having stomach problems.
Ng rubbed ointment on her belly. He then asked her if she wanted to have sex, and she agreed. They had sex that day.
They had two more trysts over the next two months, in his flat and in an ancestral temple in Commonwealth Lane.
After the victim's mother died on Dec 9, her father ordered her to cease all contact with Ng.
Depressed about her mother's death, she confided in someone at school about her relations with Ng and was later told to file a police report against him, which she did last year on Feb 7.
Ng was arrested four days later.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Vikneswaran Kumaran said Ng had "exploited a young and vulnerable 13-year-old victim for his own sexual pleasure" and that he had been in a "position of trust and responsibility", which he had breached.
In mitigation, Ng's lawyer Subir Singh Grewal said his client was from a poor family and was the primary caregiver for his aged parents.
For each charge of raping a girl under the age of 14, Ng could have been jailed up to 20 years and also liable to a fine or caning.
This article was first published on May 28, 2015.
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