SINGAPORE: A man with a strained relationship with his wife turned his sexual urges on his underage daughter, first molesting her when she was 13 and eventually raping her twice.
The crimes were exposed after a teacher asked the victim, now 16, why she wanted to run away from home.
The 50-year-old father, who cannot be named in order to protect the identity of the victim, was sentenced to 24 years' jail on Wednesday (Feb 26).
The court heard that the man was a 48-year-old technician at the time of the offences and lived with his 39-year-old wife and two children in a flat.
All the family members are China nationals with Singapore permanent residency.
The man had had a strained relationship with his wife for many years and the two of them adopted separate sleeping arrangements, said Deputy Public Prosecutors April Phang, Andrew Low and Jamie Pang.
He began harbouring intentions on his daughter as an outlet for his sexual urges, first touching her inappropriately in early 2018 when she was 13.
FIRST MOLESTED HER WHEN GIRL WAS 13
While the girl was using the computer, he hugged her from the back and molested her. The girl was afraid and did not know what to do, eventually walking away.
The man became bolder after this, said Mr Low. He demanded that his daughter lay beside him on his bed on Sunday mornings while the rest of the family were asleep.
She complied as she was afraid of defying him, but lay with her back to him. Her father would then turn her around and molest her, the court heard.
Even though she did not consent to her father's actions, the girl complied because she was afraid of antagonising the man.
He had a bad temper and had previously disciplined her by beating or slapping her, court documents said.
In February 2018, the girl told her older brother that their father had been touching her inappropriately.
Even though the brother sensed that his sister was scared, he told her to reject their father the next time it happened and did not offer any assistance to her, said the prosecution.
The sexual abuse continued for months between early 2018 to May 2018, with the man kissing the victim on her lips, sticking his tongue in her mouth, molesting her and making her perform sexual acts on him.
A FEW MONTHS AFTER HE STARTED TO MOLEST HER, HE RAPED HER
He first raped the girl when she was 13, on a Sunday in March 2018, when she woke up early for art class.
He did so on his bed and told his daughter not to shout if she felt pain, so that the rest of the family would not be woken up.
The girl was a virgin and felt some pain, but did not show her emotions as she was too afraid of her father, the court heard.
After this, the girl felt an itch in her private parts and told her father, who bought her a vaginal wash.
He raped her a second time on a Sunday morning in April 2018, this time without a condom.
He later found out his daughter had not washed her underwear, which still had his stains on it. Shocked, he washed the underwear himself.
When she missed her period, he bought her a pregnancy test kit. She tested negative.
The man later told police that he did not bother using protection as he found it "troublesome" to get it from the master bedroom.
He also said he thought it would be "safe" based on what he knew of his daughter's period cycle.
TEACHER FOUND OUT ABOUT THE OFFENCES
The offences came to light in October 2018 when the victim's co-form teacher spoke to her, after finding out that the victim wanted to run away from home.
After much probing, the victim told the teacher that her father had touched her inappropriately.
The police were alerted to the case and the man was subsequently arrested.
A psychiatric assessment of the victim found that she had obeyed her father as she felt she had no choice and was fearful of him.
The report also stated that the girl sometimes "feels breathless for no reason" and that she has been seeing her school counsellor.
The man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to two charges of rape, with another eight charges of molest taken into consideration.
The prosecution had pushed for at least 23 years' jail and an additional year in lieu of 24 strokes of the cane.
HE EXPLOITED DAUGHTER'S FEAR OF HIM: PROSECUTION
"Instead of offering the victim the care, protection and guidance as is expected of a father, the accused abused his parental authority and exploited his daughter's fear of him for his own sexual pleasure," they said.
He started off with molesting the victim and grew to the more egregious offences of rape, they said.
Defence lawyer Sherman Ho asked instead for 20 years' jail, with no additional term in lieu of caning.
He said his client had no previous convictions and that there were only two aggravating factors in the case - the youth of the victim and the accused's abuse of authority.
Justice Aedit Abdullah said he would not be imposing an additional jail term in lieu of caning as he felt the circumstances did not call for it.
The man could have been jailed up to 20 years for each count of rape and fined. He cannot be caned as he is 50.