SINGAPORE - While his wife was undergoing treatment for lymphoma, a father of four raped one of his daughters, sneaking into her bedroom at night when everyone else was asleep.
The sexual acts stopped after the wife changed the sleeping arrangements by putting the three girls and a boy in the same room.
Months later, after the woman found out that he had entered the children's room on the same day she was admitted to hospital, she took the victim to make a police report.
On Monday (Aug 8), the 44-year-old man was sentenced to 24 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane, after he pleaded guilty to three charges of rape committed between October and December 2019.
Eight other charges, comprising one for rape, three for outrage of modesty and four for sexual assault by penetration, were taken into consideration during sentencing.
He cannot be named owing to a gag order to protect the victim, who is now 17.
The girl's mother died from her illness in March 2021.
In sentencing the man, High Court judge Dedar Singh Gill said: "It goes without saying that rape is a serious crime. The worst type of rape, however, is where a father rapes his biological daughter who, because of her age, is a vulnerable victim.
"A heinous crime of this nature creates turmoil in the family. It visits upon the victim and other family members decisions they should not have to make."
The court heard that the victim - the second oldest child - originally shared a room with her younger sister. Her older sister and younger brother shared another room.
In May 2019, her father began molesting her.
The abuse escalated to rape and other penetrative sexual acts in September that year. The girl pretended to be asleep during the sexual assaults.
She did not report him as she perceived that the family was financially dependent on him. The teenager also did not want to cause worry to her mother during her treatment.
On Dec 2, 2019, the woman walked in on the man kneeling beside the girl's bed. The woman hit him, asking how he could do such a thing. He apologised and left the room.
She then put all four children in the same room to protect the victim.
On Sept 1, 2020, she was admitted to hospital for treatment. That same night, the man entered the children's room but left after he heard his son sneeze.
The next afternoon, the girl sent a text message to her mother about it.
After the woman was discharged, she confronted the man, but he did not explain why he was in the room.
On Sept 16, she felt that she had to apply for a personal protection order for her children against the man and took the victim to the police.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Benjamin Samynathan said the accused breached the trust of his own daughter, who suffered in silence as she had no power to retaliate or resist and was afraid to report the matter.
Defence counsel Vigneesh Nainar said the man is truly apologetic and ashamed over what he has done, and that he has been "condemned" by his family members.
The Straits Times understands that the children are being cared for by relatives.