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'Depraved' man who repeatedly raped young niece gets 29½ years' jail, 24 strokes of cane

'Depraved' man who repeatedly raped young niece gets 29½ years' jail, 24 strokes of cane
PHOTO: Pixabay

SINGAPORE – A man began raping his niece when she was seven years old, and over the next four years, the abuse escalated to a point where the girl was sexually assaulted almost every week when she spent weekends at his home.

On these overnight stays, the girl, who is now 13 years old, shared a bed with the man, while his wife and two children occupied another bedroom.

The man not only infected his niece with a sexually transmitted disease, but he also caused her to develop an eating disorder because he body-shamed her after the rapes by saying that “it would be easier” for him if she was thinner.

Questioned by the police after the crimes came to light, the man claimed that his niece had seduced him and that she told him she enjoyed having sex with him.

On Jan 11, the man, who is now 47, was sentenced to 29½ years’ jail and 24 strokes of the cane, in what a High Court judge described as a “gut-wrenching” case.

The man pleaded guilty to three charges of aggravated statutory rape, committed between 2017 and 2021. He cannot be named owing to a gag order to protect the victim’s identity. Another 15 charges, including 10 for aggravated statutory rape or sexual assault by penetration, were taken into consideration during sentencing. 

Justice S. Mohan said: “Instead of caring for, looking after, and protecting his niece and keeping her safe, the accused turned her into his sex toy to satisfy his disgusting and depraved lustful tendencies.”

The judge added: “The horrendous actions of the accused have destroyed the victim’s innocence and childhood.”

The girl is currently in a welfare home and undergoes counselling to help her deal with the psychological trauma from the crimes.

Prosecutors told the court that her mental struggles persist today, more than three years after she reported the man’s offences. She suffers from suicidal thoughts, flashbacks and nightmares, and continues to harm herself with sharp objects.


In a letter submitted to the court asking for leniency, the man said he found God while he was remanded in custody.

On this, the judge said: “While the accused will have to answer to his maker after this life, he will have to answer to the law now.”

Justice Mohan noted that not once in his letter did the man apologise to the victim for what he did to her or seek her forgiveness.

The judge highlighted the last sentence of the girl’s victim impact statement: “I hate my uncle and I wish he never existed.”

This showed the extent of the harm caused by the man’s despicable acts, said the judge.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Etsuko Lim had told the court that the girl and her older brother were left in the care of their paternal grandparents on weekdays after their parents divorced, as their mother was busy with work. This arrangement went on from 2014 until late 2018, when the victim’s mother remarried.

During this period, the victim became close to the accused and his wife, who often had dinner at her grandparents’ home. They were also the girl’s godparents.

The accused first sexually abused the girl in 2016, when she was five or six years old, by kissing her in private at her grandparents’ home.

From 2017, the girl regularly stayed overnight at her uncle’s home. She would beg her mother and stepfather for permission to spend the weekends overnight at the accused’s home.

The girl’s mother and stepfather felt uncomfortable on learning that the girl shared a bedroom with her uncle, but they continued to allow the overnight stays.

In June 2017, the man began having unprotected sex with the girl almost every time she stayed overnight, and often took photos of the various acts.

The first time he raped her, the man showed the victim a pornographic video and told her that she would enjoy such acts. He told her not to tell anyone about what had happened, as it was their secret.

Once, when she told him to stop the acts, he bought lollipops for his children and her brother, but not for her. On another occasion, he promised to give her $10 to $20 to perform oral sex on him.

The victim did not tell anyone about the abuse for several reasons, DPP Lim said. The girl feared that her uncle would be jailed, that she would be removed from her family and placed in a home, that her relationship with the man’s wife would suffer, and that nobody would believe her.

In 2021, the girl became worried about getting pregnant as she had started having her periods. She confided in two friends in October 2021, and at her friends’ urging, she told the school counsellor about the sexual abuse. The counsellor informed the school management, who alerted the authorities.

The man was arrested on Oct 26, 2021, and has been in remand since.

A total of 131 discs were seized from his bedroom, many of which contained child pornography. His thumb drive was also found to contain about 12,000 images that constituted child abuse material. 

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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