She was just 10 years old, but that did not stop her uncle, who was six years older than her, from using her to satisfy his lust.
He first performed an obscene act on her in 2011.
Four years later, he sexually penetrated her twice. She was then only 14.
Under the law, it is an offence to have sex with a girl under 16, even if she consents.
Yesterday, the girl's maternal uncle, 22, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual penetration and one count of committing an indecent act on the minor. We are not naming either of them due to a gag order on the girl's identity.
The court heard that in 2011, the girl was living with her uncle and his family at their HDB flat in Woodlands.
The girl, then 10, slept in the same bedroom as her uncle and her younger brother.
One night, her uncle crawled under her blanket and performed an obscene act on her for a few minutes before going back to sleep.
The child did not resist or tell anyone about what happened.
He later lived with the girl's family at their HDB flat, also somewhere in the northern part of Singapore.
Again, he shared a bedroom with his niece, along with her mother and brother.
Sometime in January last year, the girl's mother and brother were asleep in the bedroom as she was surfing the Internet.
Her uncle, who was also in the bedroom, was watching an anime show when he took his perversions a step further. He touched her inappropriately and penetrated her for a few minutes.
He penetrated her again a second time a few nights later, again in the bedroom.
The offences came to light after the girl confided in her school counsellor while seeking advice for her relationship issues.
SHE FELT GUILTY
The court heard that the girl told an Institute of Mental Health psychiatrist that she was guilty and angry at herself for what had happened and felt guilty for turning her uncle in.
Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Chee Ee Ling said in her submissions that the accused abused the girl and his family's trust.
The DPP said that it was the uncle who approached the girl on each occasion and committed those acts even though he had a girlfriend with whom he was sexually active.
DPP Chee also said the acts happened over a span of four to five years and would have continued if no one else had found out.
She urged the court to jail the accused for between 21 and 24 months.
Defence lawyer Favian Kang said in mitigation that the girl has forgiven her uncle.
He read out a letter, penned by the girl to the court, pleading for a lighter sentence for her uncle.
Mr Kang also said that the girl and her uncle had an age gap of just six years and grew up "like childhood playmates". He added that "things just happened" between them.
District Judge Kessler Soh adjourned the case to June 22 for sentencing.
Under the Children and Young Persons Act, the uncle faces up to seven years' jail and can be fined up to $20,000, for performing an indecent act on the girl.
Under the Penal Code, for each count of sexually penetrating a minor, he can be jailed up to 10 years and fined.
This article was first published on May 20, 2016.
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