Man jailed 34 years, caned for sexually abusing lover's daughter

Victim endured abuse that began when she was just 7 or 8 and went on for years even though she informed mum

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 yesterday.

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.

Yesterday, he was sentenced to 34 years in jail and the maximum 24 strokes 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.

The 47-year-old man cannot be named to protect the girl's identity.

The court heard that after his arrest, the man told police the girl had seduced him and flirted with him.

"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 was married with a son, but had 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, where he began molesting her. The girl realised the acts were wrong only after attending sex education classes in Primary 5, but did not know what to do.

In 2014 , the jobless man told the girl's mother to move in with his family. 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.

"She felt very lousy about herself and just let the accused abuse her daily," the DPP told the court.

She feared angering the man, who had 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.

In 2016, the man's wife filed for divorce and left the flat with their son. The man then moved into his lover's flat, and the abuse continued.

Eventually, the girl sought help from the rapist's wife, who referred her to a social worker, and a police report was made on June 29, 2016.

With $800 that he took from the girl's mother, the man spent the next four days evading arrest before surrendering himself to police.

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.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 27, 2018, with the headline 'Man jailed 34 years, caned for sexually abusing lover's daughter'. Print Edition | Subscribe