Man abused stepdaughter over three years, persisted despite her complaint to mother

SINGAPORE - A man who repeatedly molested his stepdaughter over a three-year period - and persisted with the abuse even after the girl complained, and he had apologised to the mother - was sentenced to two years in jail and six cane strokes on Friday.

The incidents started in 2011, the same year the victim, then just 12, began living with him and her mother.

He molested her in a HDB flat near Chinatown on five occasions when his wife was not at home, asking her to perform an indecent act on him or insulting her modesty on another two. He molested her on two other occasions at an open air carpark in the neighbourhood after they had bought dinner together and at a lift lobby in their block.

The girl suffered from depression, cut herself, and kept having flashbacks of what had happened. One medical report stated that she had insomnia and suffered panic attacks, among other problems. Another report said she had considered drinking bleach and hanging herself.

Before passing sentence on Friday, District Judge Christopher Goh noted that the victim, now 15, had to live with what had happened for the rest of her life and it was unclear if she could ever fully recover. He called the man's action's "despicable".

The man, a driver with a shipyard, said he was remorseful and ashamed of what he had done. He promised never to go near his stepdaughter again after he completes his prison term, adding he hoped to "start again" with his wife.

It is understood the wife had told police she intended to initiate divorce proceedings, though she was present in court on Friday alongside her husband's father.

The man has a slew of previous convictions dating back to 1999, including some for drug consumption and voluntarily causing hurt.

He pleaded guilty to four of nine charges, with the rest taken into consideration.

For each of his seven counts of molest, he could have been jailed for up to two years, fined and caned.

pohian@sph.com.sg