STOMP it anytime, anywhere.
Download the new STOMP app today.
The Straits Times
June 22, 2023
A man who sneaked into a dormitory at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in the dead of the night and tried to force his way into bedrooms to look at female residents has been sentenced to 14 months’ jail.
Muhammad Shahrin Mohd Shah, 37, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to two charges of housebreaking.
He was also fined $2,800 and disqualified from driving for 24 months after admitting to drink driving and speeding in an unrelated offence.
Shahrin had 10 housebreaking charges and one for obstructing the course of justice taken into consideration during his sentencing.
The deliveryman has a previous conviction for tresspassing in an NTU residents’ hall, where he performed a lewd act in front of a student in 2016.
He was jailed for two years and eight months and ordered to be given three strokes of the cane on Jan 24, 2018, for the offence, as well as a charge of aggravated molestation that he faced.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Jing Min on Wednesday asked the court to sentence him to at least nine to 13 months’ jail for the housebreaking offences, saying Shahrin was clearly undeterred by his previous sentence.
“His modus operandi remains strikingly similar – he poses a safety hazard to students who live in dormitories. An uplift from the previously imposed sentence for his antecedent is thereby warranted,” she said.
The prosecutor said Shahrin used his company vehicle to get to the hall at NTU around 3.30am on Sept 9, 2022.
While he was parked there, the DPP said he drank two cans of beer and became dizzy and high.
He then headed towards the hall and loitered along the common corridors, before he attempted to open the doors to the rooms on level 2.
Shahrin later admitted that he knew the dormitories at level 2 were meant for female students because he had targeted the same hall in 2016.
DPP Tan said the offender wanted to look at the female students.
Shahrin tried to conceal his identity. He was captured on the hall’s closed-circuit television (CCTV) system wearing a hooded jacket, trousers and a mask.
He also used a cloth over his hand to turn the door handles to avoid direct contact.
At about 4am, Shahrin reached a room that was occupied by a 24-year-old female student and her 25-year-old boyfriend. The room door was unlocked, and the couple were asleep.
Shahrin opened the door and entered the room, but immediately left.
The boyfriend heard the door closing and was roused from his sleep. He left the room with his girlfriend to check the area and saw Shahrin walking along the hallway. After returning to the room, the boyfriend called the police.
On Dec 1, 2022, at about 3.45am, Shahrin drove his company vehicle to the carpark at a different hall in NTU.
While parked there, he drank two cups of vodka and walked towards the hall wearing trousers and a cap, without a shirt. Shahrin also brought an umbrella, which he held over his head to avoid being captured by CCTV.
He wandered along the common corridor and entered rooms which were unlocked. This time, he used a towel to turn the handles.
He eventually left the hall and returned to the hall he had trespassed in September.
He tried entering the room belonging to a 23-year-old woman, but could not as the door was locked. The victim, who was asleep, was awoken by the sound.
She went outside to check and saw Shahrin. She yelled at him and he ran away, but the woman gave chase.
After she lost sight of him, she reported the matter to a security manager at NTU, who lodged a police report.
Shahrin was instructed to report to a police station two days later.
Anticipating that he would be asked about the offences committed at NTU, he got rid of his cap, umbrella and trousers.
Shahrin was placed under arrest on Dec 6, 2022.
DPP Tan said Shahrin had intruded into the privacy of the victims’ dormitories, a place where they are entitled to feel safe.
“The offences were committed on school premises and at a time when the victims were likely to be alone and asleep. They were thus in a vulnerable position,” said the prosecutor.