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The Straits Times
July 13, 2020
After breaking into his ex-girlfriend's home, a 38-year-old man held a knife to the woman's neck and threatened to blow up her house with a gas cylinder.
He also tied up the woman, her two daughters and her maid, and cut up her clothes.
Mohamad Ridwan Ali, 38, was sentenced on Monday (July 13) to jail for five years and nine months, and six strokes of the cane.
He pleaded guilty to one charge each relating to housebreaking and wrongful confinement, as well as to two charges of criminal intimidation. He also admitted to voluntarily causing hurt to the woman and the maid.
One other charge each of criminal intimidation and causing hurt by a rash act, as well as two other charges of wrongful confinement, were taken into consideration by District Judge Tan Jen Tse during sentencing.
His victims cannot be named due to a gag order to protect their identities.
The woman's daughters and her maid were at home when Ridwan broke into her residence at about 2.30am on March 16 last year.
He opened the front door of the unit, which was unlocked, and put his hand through a gap in the unit's front gate to take a key hanging on the wall near the door.
He then used the key to unlock the gate, entered the unit and went to the woman's bedroom, where her daughters were sleeping.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Wei Liang said that Ridwan had known where the key was kept through his previous relationship with the woman.
When the maid subsequently entered the bedroom, Ridwan pushed her against a wardrobe, causing her to suffer a cut behind her ear and a bruise on her hip.
He tied up the children and the maid using masking tape, cable ties and rope, which he had carried with him.
After moving them to the maid's bedroom, he took a gas cylinder from the kitchen and placed it at the entrance of the room.
He then threatened to blow up the house with the gas cylinder, and taped the mouths of the trio.
When the woman returned home at about 3am, Ridwan pushed her to the floor, held a knife to her neck and told her to keep quiet.
Still holding a knife to her neck, he then took her to the maid's bedroom and threatened to blow up the house if she "did anything stupid".
He subsequently moved the woman to her bedroom, where he had placed another gas cylinder, and tied her up.
Checking through the messages on her mobile phone, Ridwan confronted her about a debt that she allegedly owed him and about a male friend whom she had been messaging.
He also threatened to blow up the house again while switching on the gas cylinder and flicking the wheel of the lighter he was holding to expose the flame.
Ridwan later cut the cable ties and rope around the woman's wrists. He then voiced his unhappiness with what she was wearing and cut up her clothes.
"Thereafter, the victim repeatedly tried to pacify the accused by reassuring him that she would not report the incident to the authorities, and that she would not contact the male friend," DPP Lee said.
She also had sex with him as she remained fearful of his threats and wanted to distract him in fear of what he might do to her and her children, the DPP added.
The woman finally persuaded Ridwan to untie her children and the maid some time after 7.30am.
He continued to stay with the woman until the next day, when she told him that she needed to retrieve the birth certificate of her eldest daughter from her office.
Ridwan drove her there, but waited outside in his lorry.
While in her office, she instructed her maid via a phone call to contact her ex-husband and get his help with lodging a police report.
Ridwan was eventually arrested later that day.
In sentencing Ridwan on Monday, District Judge Tan noted that he had terrorised his victims at their home, where they had felt safe.
The judge backdated Ridwan's sentence to March 19 last year, when he was first remanded.
For breaking into the woman's house after making preparations to wrongfully restrain her children and the maid, Ridwan could have been jailed between two and 14 years, and caned.
He could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined for each charge of criminal intimidation.
For voluntarily causing hurt, offenders can be jailed for up to three years and fined up to $5,000. Individuals convicted of wrongful confinement can be jailed for up to three years and fined.