Jail and caning for man who molested 13-year-old niece, leaving her 'frozen in fear'

SINGAPORE - A man repeatedly molested his 13-year-old niece after she and her two siblings were placed in his care when their father was sent to prison.

A court heard how the youngster was left "frozen in fear" when the 43-year-old account manager preyed on her in her bed.

He was caught when his wife viewed closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage of him touching their niece.

The man, who cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the girl's identity, was sentenced to two years and 10 months' jail and five strokes of the cane on Tuesday (Aug 7) after pleading guilty to three counts of molestation.

Three similar charges involving the same girl were considered during sentencing.

He committed the first offence on Aug 9, 2012, while the family was on the way home from the National Day fireworks display at the Marina Barrage.

The court heard that his wife, daughter and the girl's two siblings were in a taxi, while he shared another with the girl and his two-year-old son.

He was sitting beside the two children in the rear passenger seat when he told the girl to take a nap, as it was a long ride to his Hillview Avenue home.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Lai said that when the girl closed her eyes, she felt her uncle moving closer to molest her. She was sleeping in her bedroom that evening when the man crept inside and outraged her modesty again.

The DPP said: "She froze in fear and did not dare move or open her eyes."

He preyed on the girl yet again while she was asleep in her bedroom at 11pm on Oct 24, 2012.

The offences later came to light when the man's wife scolded her niece for coming home late from school.

The girl broke down and told her aunt about her ordeal, but her uncle denied her accusation when confronted.

However, the truth emerged when his wife viewed CCTV footage taken from the girl's bedroom and saw her husband molesting the teenager.

The man came clean when his wife confronted him and begged her to not alert the authorities.

Instead of making a police report, the woman arranged for the girl and her siblings to sleep in the same room as their grandmother, who lived in the same apartment.

The relationship between the girl's aunt and uncle deteriorated after this incident, the DPP said.

During their divorce proceedings, the woman went to her husband's Raffles Place office on April 1, 2016, to confront him over an alleged affair.

The man decided to lodge a police report against his wife for her actions at his workplace.

A policewoman was interviewing the man when he told her that he had molested his niece on multiple occasions. He also told the officer that his wife had CCTV images of him committing the offences. The girl finally made a police report about her ordeal on April 3, 2016.