SINGAPORE - For seven years, a girl suffered almost daily sexual abuse at the hands of her mother's lover, a man she called "shu shu", or uncle, the High Court heard on Monday (Feb 26).
In the beginning, when she was seven to eight years old, the girl told her mother that he was molesting her but realised it was futile when the woman got angry with her instead and did not intervene.
Years later, the man, who was married to another woman, progressed to raping her and forcing her to perform oral sex on him - sometimes in broad daylight while others were at home. She became so conditioned by his abuse that she automatically took off her clothes when he summoned her.
When she was 13, she decided she could no longer endure the abuse. After going to the police, the girl found herself being abandoned by her mother, who has been visiting the man in prison every other week.
On Monday, the 47-year-old man was sentenced to 34 years' jail and the maximum 24 stokes of the cane after he pleaded guilty to four charges of statutory rape. Another 17 charges - of statutory rape, molestation, committing an indecent act, and sexual penetration of a minor - were taken into consideration.
He cannot be named to protect her identity.
The court heard that after his arrest, the man told police that the girl had seduced him and flirted with him by eating ice cream and bananas in a provocative manner.
"This is one of the most heinous cases which we have ever seen," Deputy Public Prosecutor David Khoo said as he urged the court to send out a strong deterrent message to protect the young and vulnerable.
The DPP noted that despite having a wife and a mistress, the man was not satisfied and even raped his mistress' child, "robbing her of her innocence".
The man is married with a son but has been in an affair with the girl's divorced mother since 2006. From 2010 to 2014, the girl was sent to live with the man's family during the school holidays.
He began molesting her at his flat and brazenly dared the girl to tell her mother. The girl did tell her mother, who quarrelled with the man, but the confrontations did nothing to stop the abuse.
The girl only realised the acts were wrong after attending sex education classes in Primary 5, but did not know how to deal with the problem.
In 2014, the jobless man told the girl's mother to move in with his family, so that he can "take care of them". He relied on his wife to support the family and got a monthly allowance from the girl's mother, who sometimes paid $350 a month to his wife for household expenses.
After mother and daughter moved in, the abuse escalated to rape and oral sex.
If the girl was unwilling, he would fly into a rage. "She felt very lousy about herself and just let the accused abuse her daily," the DPP told the court.
She feared angering the man as he was controlling and prone to violent outbursts.
He assaulted his wife and the girl's mother when he was angry or drunk; and hit the girl when she tried to protect her mother from him or when he was angered that she had male friends at school. He even installed tracking software on their phones.
In 2016, the man's wife decided that she had had enough and filed for divorce. She also left the flat with their son. The man then moved into his lover's flat and the abuse continued.
Once, the girl's mother saw her taking the man's clothes and asked him if he was going to have sex with her daughter. The man assured the woman that they were just taking a shower together, but he raped the girl inside the toilet.
Eventually, the girl sought help from the rapist's wife, who referred her to a social worker. The social worker took her to lodge a police report on June 29, 2016.
When the girl's mother learnt of this, the man told her that he was "forced" to rape the girl because he wanted to take revenge on her (mistress) and his wife for gossiping about him.
He sought forgiveness from the girl's mother, took $800 from her, and spent the next four days evading arrest before surrendering himself to the police.
He told the police that the victim was sexually experienced and had seduced him.
On Monday, DPP Khoo said the man had wrecked the girl's life and caused a rift between her and her mother.
The girl, who is now 15 and living with her maternal grandmother, feels very insecure about herself and worries about being judged by others, said the DPP. "She misses her mother," he said.