Man molested niece when she was only 10 after being given home by his late wife's family

A 62-year-old man was sentenced to 10 years and nine months' jail on Tuesday (Jun 19) for sexually abusing his brother-in-law's young daughter.

The widower, who cannot be named in order to safeguard the victim's identity, had been living with his late wife's family since 2003, after they offered him a home.

He was addressed as "ayah" - which means "father" in Malay - by the girl, who was merely 10 years old when he first abused her.

According to The Straits Times, District Judge Mathew Joseph said: "They offered you a home to stay... for that young victim, that house was transformed into a house of terror... The victim will probably remain scarred for life."

The accused, an operating theatre technician, pleaded guilty to two counts of molestation and one of attempting to sexually penetrate his niece without her consent.

During sentencing, five other charges for similar offences - spanning from 2011 to 2016 - involving the same girl were taken into consideration.

The accused first molested the girl at the family flat in the middle of the year 2011.

Then he molested the girl again in the following year when they were watching television at home, despite the presence of her parents, brother, and grandmother.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Asoka Markandu said: "The accused stopped when someone called his name and asked him to come out of the room. The victim recalled feeling shocked, uncomfortable and confused by the events. She did not share the incident with anyone."

The man molested the child again in a similar manner before failing to sodomise her, the court heard.

He had molested her twice in 2016, although the girl said that he did not sexually abuse her between 2013 and 2015. This made her tell her form teacher about her ordeal as she no longer felt safe in her own home.

After receiving a call from her school, the girl's father made a police report in July 2016.

DPP Asoka urged the judge to sentence the man to 10 years and nine months' jail, emphasising on the fact that he had abused the girl's, as well as her family's trust in him.

The man, who was unrepresented, told the court he regretted his actions.

For each count of molestation, offenders can be jailed for not exceeding five years and fined or caned.

For attempted sexual assault by penetration, offenders can be jailed for up to 10 years with caning.

The man cannot be caned as he is over 50 years old.

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