Jail, fine for man who choked wife and punched 8-year-old stepdaughter

SINGAPORE - Enraged after finding out that his wife had thrown away a cupboard, a man choked the woman and punched his eight-year-old stepdaughter when the child started crying.

The 35-year-old man, who cannot be named due to a gag order to protect his victims' identities, was sentenced on Monday (Jan 28) to 15 weeks' jail and a fine of $2,000.

He pleaded guilty to one count each of assault, harassment and ill-treating a child.

The man was in a foul mood when he came home to his flat near Chinatown at around 7pm on March 8, 2017.

His wife, baby son and stepdaughter were home at that time.

The man entered the flat and noticed that his cupboard was missing. He asked his 30-year-old wife where it was and became angry when told that she had thrown it away, as it was broken.

He scolded her and told her to get it back. She replied that she could not retrieve the cupboard, as she had thrown it into a bin.

He then told her that he would "break her face", before dragging her by her hair to a corner of the flat.

After that, he choked her until she had difficulty breathing and punched her face twice.

His terrified stepdaughter burst into tears but her cries only irritated him.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Joshua Rene Jeyaraj said: "The accused then approached her and punched her on the left eye. He yelled at the second victim and told her to shut up. He then tried to throw another punch at the second victim but was pushed away by the first victim before he could do so."

The man redirected his attention to his wife and punched her lower back.

The woman told the girl to hide behind her and managed to calm her husband down.

He then gave his victims 30 minutes to take the cupboard back.

His wife sent a text message to the police to ask for assistance.

The court heard that he initially refused to allow officers to enter the flat when they arrived at the scene and relented only after "much persuasion", said the DPP.

He was arrested and his two victims sought medical attention.

The woman was found to be suffering from mild tenderness over her nose and right cheek while the girl had a bruise over her left eye.

The woman later obtained a personal protection order against her husband, and it was issued on April 10, 2017.

But on Jan 4 last year, at around 8pm, she received a call from him, accusing her of being a sex worker.

He continued calling her after she hung up.

By 9pm that day, she received 88 missed calls and answered another eight, the court heard.

The couple have since divorced.

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