Jail, fine for man who abused then girlfriend by hitting her, spitting in her face

SINGAPORE - Twice, she was locked out of her home. At other times, her then boyfriend hit her and spat in her face. 

The woman finally left the relationship after months of abuse in 2018 upon realising that "the emotional and physical exhaustion was no longer sustainable".

On Tuesday (Oct 5), her abuser was sentenced to seven weeks' jail and a fine of $5,400.

After a trial, District Judge Sarah Tan earlier found the 41-year-old European man guilty of seven counts of assault and two of wrongful confinement.

She also convicted him of one count of using criminal force on the woman.

He was, however, acquitted of one count each of assault and molestation.

He cannot be identified owing to a gag order to protect his former girlfriend's identity. He committed the offences between May and August 2018.

In their submissions, deputy public prosecutors Chin Jincheng and Melina Chew said: "As the great singer Adele once said, sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead. This case is a tragic instance of the latter."

The court heard that the couple first met in 2017 and became an item later that year.

She moved in with the man in February 2018.

The prosecutors said: "Unfortunately, the romantic relationship between the accused and the victim was unstable and fraught with physical and emotional abuse. Notwithstanding this, the victim continued to stay in the relationship as she genuinely loved the accused, felt that he was someone she would spend the rest of her life with, and wanted to make the relationship work.

"The victim was also emotionally reliant on the accused throughout the course of the relationship as she was unemployed and was at what she described as the weakest point in her life."

The abuse started on May 16, 2018 after the couple got into a tiff over issues linked to a swingers' party.

The woman went to the balcony of their home to smoke before realising that he had secured a sliding door, locking her out.

The DPPs said: "The victim and the accused texted each other, during which the accused told her that he would only let her back into the house if she agreed to leave. The victim also informed the accused that she needed to go to the toilet urgently."

She re-entered their home only about an hour later, the court heard.

The couple later got into another argument. She tried to speak to the man about the matter on June 20, 2018, but he refused to engage her.

Instead, he became agitated and started calling her names.

He picked up a remote control and flung it at her face, hitting her lip.

The woman was later resting on a bed when he told her to leave the room.

When she refused, he grabbed hold of her legs and yanked her off the bed. This caused the victim to fall, scrape her left elbow and hit the back of her head.

The couple got into yet another tiff on July 24, 2018, and the man, who became "very agitated", started yelling at her.

He told her that he wanted them to break up before he spat in her face.

Soon after, he grabbed her ankles and dragged her to a dining table. She fell backwards and the back of her head struck the floor.

Later that evening, he grabbed her hair and pulled her to the main door of their home. He opened the door and told her to get out.

She was in a bedroom the next day when he took her laptop and used it to repeatedly hit her thighs.

The woman left their home to stay with a friend following this incident but returned soon after.

The pair were in a bedroom on July 27 that year when the man repeatedly hit her legs with his elbow and forearm.

The woman made her first police report four days later but continued her relationship with the man.

On Aug 17 that year, the man picked up his jeans, which had a belt attached, and used the garment to hit her face.

She felt the sharp edges of the belt clasp scratching her face.

The prosecutors said the woman went to a service yard near their home 13 days later to smoke when the man locked her out. The door was unlocked only about 15 minutes later.

The court heard that she filed her second police report on Nov 23, 2018.

The prosecutors said: "The victim finally accepted that the relationship had ended... She decided to file the second police report against the accused... stating that she wanted to press charges against (him)."

In his defence, the man said the woman had "constantly harassed, badgered and manipulated him into being with her".

He eventually "gave in to her" to have his "peace and rest".

The court heard that he had been found to have major depressive disorder from May to December 2018.

His bail was set at $20,000 on Tuesday and he was ordered to surrender himself at the State Courts on Oct 7 to begin serving his sentence.

For each count of assault, an offender can be jailed up to two years and fined up to $5,000.