It was through "sheer luck" that he was caught.
That was what Justice Chan Seng Onn said yesterday before sentencing former logistics executive Azuar Ahamad - whom the prosecution referred to as "the worst serial rapist to be dealt with in Singapore" - to 37 ½ years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane.
The longest jail sentence handed out to a sexual offender so far is 42 years, given in 2009 to Bala Kuppusamy, then 48, who was also ordered to receive 24 strokes of the cane for robbing seven women and sexually violating three of them.
Azuar, 44, who is twice divorced and has a 13-year-old daughter, pleaded guilty on Aug 6, 2012, to raping three women and sexually assaulting a fourth.
Twenty-nine other charges, including those involving another 21 women, were taken into consideration during sentencing.
Between December 2008 and August 2009, Azuar raped and sexually assaulted eight women and molested another 14.
He committed non-sexual offences, such as theft, with the remaining three.
The 25 women were then between 18 and 38 years old.
The judge highlighted that his offences came to light only by "sheer luck" due to an incident that took place on Oct 27, 2008.
Personal banker Tan Hui Ling, 30, who was not sexually assaulted, testified on April 3 last year that she met Azuar at a cafe in Bishan's Junction 8 mall that day to discuss insurance products.
Ms Tan said that she became light-headed after drinking some coffee Azuar bought for her.
Her last memory was going back to her seat at the cafe after she left to use the restroom.