Engineer jailed for 3 weeks for molesting woman; fined $2,500 for house trespass

Indian national Prabu Natarajan, 33, was jailed for three weeks on one count of molestation. He was also fined $2,500 for house trespass. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - After molesting a 23-year-old woman on a bus, an engineer followed her into a lift at a Housing Board block in Choa Chu Kang and molested her again.

On another occasion, Indian national Prabu Natarajan, 33, opened a bedroom window in a common corridor in the same estate, and annoyed a woman who was sleeping near the window.

On Thursday (Dec 14), Prabu was jailed for three weeks on one count of molestation. He was also fined $2,500 for house trespass.

Investigations showed that on Nov 21, 2016, Prabu and the victim boarded bus service 300 at Choa Chu Kang bus interchange at 5.45pm, and he sat next to her.

During the journey, his thigh bumped into hers. This prompted her to shift closer to the window, away from him, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Chee Ee Ling.

Shortly after, he rubbed his thigh against hers while the bus was travelling in Choa Chu Kang Loop.

The victim again shifted away from him, but Prabu persisted in outraging her modesty.

He rubbed against her thigh several times, each lasting two to three seconds, the court heard.

When the victim, who was a tutor, alighted near Block 291, Choa Chu Kang Avenue 3, Prabu also alighted, as he lived in the estate.

He followed the victim into the lift as the door was about to close, scaring the victim, who kept quiet when he asked her why she was scared.

He then rubbed her right arm up and down, telling her she looked good. He also asked if she liked him touching her thigh while they were on the bus.

When the lift door opened, Prabu tried but failed to hold on to her shoulders. She threatened to call the police if he followed her and she ran to her student's flat to seek help.

In the other case, Prabu was loitering in the common corridor at Block 541, Choa Chu Kang Street 52, at about 2am on July 4, 2012, when he opened a sliding window of a bedroom.

A 23-year-old woman was sleeping near the window and hugging a bolster. He tugged the bolster but ran away when she woke up.

The court was not told how police tracked Prabu to the 2012 offence.

DPP Chee said that Prabu had confessed that he had a habit of loitering in the corridors of HDB blocks in the area to peep through windows to see if there were any women sleeping in the bedrooms.

"This was a pastime of his, especially after a night of drinking with some friends and if he did not go to Geylang to visit prostitutes,'' she added.

A second molestation charge and a public nuisance offence were considered in Prabu's sentencing.

Pleading for a fine to be imposed instead of a jail term, Prabu's lawyer Jeremy Pereira said his client, who is married and has a son, was genuinely remorseful and extremely sorry.

He said Prabu has sought treatment and counselling.

Prabu could have been jailed for up to two years, fined, caned or received any combined punishment for outrage of modesty. The maximum penalty for house trespass is one year's jail and a $1,500 fine.

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