DNA links man to 2 crimes, 5 years apart

Offender gets jail, caning for house trespass in 2016 and aggravated molestation in 2011

A man molested a woman in her boyfriend's car and got away with it for five years.

But the law caught up with him in 2016, after he trespassed into a university hostel and performed a lewd act in front of a student. DNA samples taken after the latter crime linked him to his earlier offence.

For his crimes, Muhammad Shahrin Mohd Shah, 32, was yesterday jailed for two years and eight months and ordered to be given three strokes of the cane.

He admitted to two charges - aggravated molestation in 2011 and house trespass in 2016.

A district court heard how on Oct 23, 2011, Shahrin forced himself into a car where a woman had gone to rest at 4.30am after drinking at a Clarke Quay pub.

After opening the door, he squeezed himself in next to the 32-year-old and used his elbow to pin her down. A struggle ensued and although Shahrin managed to kiss the woman on the lips, she bit him and escaped from the driver's door when he loosened his grip on her arm, Deputy Public Prosecutor Ng Yiwen said.

The court also heard that he trespassed into Nanyang Technological University (NTU) four times - on Oct 20, Nov 2, 15 and 16, 2016.

DPP Ng said that at around 5am on Nov 2 that year, an 18-year-old Chinese national was asleep in her room when she woke to see Shahrin standing next to her.

He was naked from the waist down, with a T-shirt covering his face and wearing a dark jacket.

He asked if he could have sex with her. When she rejected him, he talked to her about his problems for more than an hour before performing an obscene act in front of her and leaving.

The police were alerted.

A cleaner at NTU reported seeing Shahrin behaving suspiciously near the hostel rooms and driving a black vehicle.

She provided the police with his car registration number, which enabled them to trace him. Shahrin was arrested on Nov 18 that year.

Four other charges, including one of molesting the 18-year-old student, were considered during sentencing.

He could have been jailed for up to one year and/or fined up to $3,000 for house trespass. For aggravated molestation, the maximum penalty is 10 years' jail and caning.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 25, 2018, with the headline 'DNA links man to 2 crimes, 5 years apart'. Print Edition | Subscribe