Man on trial for abducting and raping woman at MacRitchie Reservoir in broad daylight

He allegedly held her at knifepoint before raping her at forested area in MacRitchie

A construction worker allegedly abducted a woman at knifepoint in broad daylight as she was walking along a MacRitchie Reservoir trail, then took her into the forested area where he is said to have raped her twice.

Bangladeshi national Pramanik Liton, 24, was arrested two days later at his worksite, after his fingerprint was lifted from a folding knife found by a Gurkha tracker in the forest.

His semen was also found on the woman's panties, swabs taken from her body, and tissue paper recovered from the crime scene, which was 14m off the trail.

Liton denied committing the sex attack on the woman, a Chinese national who was 39 years old at the time of the incident, which took place between 1.45pm and about 3.35pm on Feb 8, 2015. The woman, now 41, cannot be named as there is a gag order on her identity.

Liton went on trial yesterday for two counts of aggravated rape, one count of sexual assault by penetration, and one count of abduction for illicit intercourse.

When a sketch plan of part of the park was submitted in court, he denied having gone to the Lornie Trail, where the woman was walking before she was accosted.

Speaking through a Bengali interpreter, he said: "The map shows the left side of MacRitchie Park, I went to the right side."

Liton also said he "doesn't know anything about this knife" when a photograph of the weapon was shown to him.

The prosecution has contended that Liton committed the offences against the victim, and will be submitting evidence from 44 witnesses to prove its case.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Stella Tan told the court that the woman was stopped on her walk by Liton, who asked her to have sex with him. When she refused, he held a knife against her neck, covered her nose and mouth, and took her into the forested area.

After raping the woman twice and forcing her to perform oral sex on him, Liton threw the knife into another spot in the forest and left her there, said the DPP.

The woman, who has worked in Singapore since 2009, phoned her boyfriend - now her husband - for help at about 3.35pm and met him at the Mushroom Cafe near the entrance of the park. She lodged a police report that evening.

She took the stand behind closed doors yesterday.

Assistant Superintendent Lim Yi Ting of the Serious Sexual Crime Branch (SSCB) testified that when she saw the woman on the night of the incident, she looked "pale and weak" and her hair was "messy".

When she was escorted back to MacRitchie Reservoir by police, the woman was shivering in fear and sat at the kerb, refusing to walk in.

"It took us a while to convince her she would be safe with us," added ASP Lim.

Superintendent Chua Teck Wah, head of the SSCB, said the woman could not pinpoint where she was raped, so he activated trackers from the Gurkha Contingent.

He showed the trackers - typically activated for forest searches as they specialise in this type of terrain - a sample of the distinctive tissue paper the rapist had used to clean himself. The tissue paper, printed with a €10 note design, belonged to the woman.

That night, a tracker located the "flattened" scene where three pieces of tissue paper were recovered. The next afternoon, another tracker found the knife nearly 200m away. A print of Liton's right thumb was lifted from the blade.

The punishment for aggravated rape is between eight and 20 years' jail and at least 12 strokes of the cane.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 17, 2017, with the headline 'Man on trial for abducting and raping woman'. Print Edition | Subscribe