Man jailed after stalking neighbour for 7 months, forcing her to move out

SINGAPORE - A man harassed his neighbour and her family so often by stalking, she was forced to move from her flat to her parents' home.

After Cuthbert Shaun Paul, 34, accused his neighbour of tapping his Wi-Fi signal and stealing his electricity, he threw eggs at Ms Muthumeenakshi Gopalan's front door, switched off the power supply to her unit, and stalked her family.

Ms Muthumeenakshi's address was redacted from court documents, which also did not provide details of who she lived with in the flat, and if she was an immediate neighbour of Paul's.

The court heard that Paul harassed the 26-year-old and her family a total of 20 times between April 21 and Oct 5 last year. She moved out on Oct 6, 2017, with her family and they have been living with her parents since.

On Thursday (May 24), Paul was jailed for six months and three weeks for unlawfully stalking Ms Muthumeenakshi and her family. It includes a sentence for a separate case, where he assaulted Mr Andy Tan Yang Seng, 29, a bar operations supervisor he kicked in the abdomen and shoved in the chest.

While stalking, Paul would even yell at Ms Muthumeenakshi's family in public.

In one incident on Sept 21, Paul followed her mother to Kee Guan Huat supermarket at Block 309 Clementi Avenue 4, where he shouted at her, claiming she "did not teach (her daughter) well". He accused her of teaching Ms Muthumeenakshi to steal his electricity and Wi-Fi signal.

When her mother was at the cashier, he threatened to go to her workplace to "shame" her.

On Oct 5, Paul stalked Ms Muthumeenakshi's husband and brother-in-law, and approached them as they waited for their taxi to arrive. He used his handphone to take photos of the pair and said he would continue following them.

Ms Muthumeenakshi took to installing a closed-circuit television camera outside her unit after April 22, and lodged three police reports. But her actions did not deter Paul.

According to court documents, "there was never any evidence" to prove his claims that she had been stealing his electricity and Wi-Fi signal.

Paul's other offence took place on Nov 26 last year at Stickies Bar, located at Block 106 Clementi Street 12. At about 6.30pm, he went to the bar, where he is a regular patron, to have drinks alone. He had been drinking elsewhere from 9.30am.

An hour or so later, he yelled at the bar staff as he thought his favourite staff member had been fired.

Mr Tan then told him to leave, but Paul responded by kicking him in his abdomen before leaving.

He returned at around 9.30pm, and started shouting and pointing at Mr Tan. This time, he refused to leave and shoved the supervisor twice, causing him to fall backwards the second time.

In mitigation, Paul's lawyer Lee Wei Fan said he had "acted out of character", and was "extremely remorseful for committing the offences, but prays for compassion".

Paul has three related antecedents - two for rioting, and one for disorderly behaviour, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Yvonne Goh, adding that this showed his lack of remorse for his actions.

If convicted of unlawful stalking, Paul could have been jailed for up to a year, fined up to $5,000, or a combination of both.

For the use of criminal force, he faced a jail term of up to three months, a fine of up to $1,500, or a combination of both.