Odd-job worker with history of schizophrenia hugged cleaner and touched her private parts in Hotel Jen

A man who claimed to be "depressed" and "lonely" touched a woman's private parts after hugging her from behind, while she was going about her cleaning duties in Hotel Jen at Orchard Road.

Mohamad Azman Sarip, 39, who has a history of schizophrenia, was sentenced to two and a half years' jail and one stroke of the cane on Thursday (Sep 20), after pleading guilty to one count of molestation, reports The Straits Times.

At about 5pm on Oct 1, 2016, the 33-year-old woman was cleaning a room on the 17th storey of the hotel when she saw Azman pacing along the corridor.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Mark Yeo said: "Thinking that he was a hotel guest, she greeted the accused and offered to help locate his room.

"However, the accused did not respond to her. The victim then continued with her cleaning duties."

Azman then hugged her forcefully from behind with his left hand to stop her from leaving and molested her, but ran away after the cleaner screamed for help.

She immediately informed her housekeeping coordinator who then told a security officer to call the police.

He was subsequently arrested and taken to Tanglin Police Division.

DPP Yeo said: "The accused admitted that he had gone to Hotel Jen on Oct 1, 2016, in search of females. He further admitted that he watched pornography every day, and was feeling depressed and lonely."

The DPP said that Azman had touched the woman's private parts, and urged District Judge Eddy Tham to sentence him to three years' jail with three strokes of the cane.

Defence lawyers Sunil Sudheesan and Diana Ngiam represented Azman pro bono.

On Thursday, Mr Sudheesan asked the judge to give Azman the mandatory minimum sentence of two years' jail with one stroke of the cane.

The lawyer said Azman, who did odd jobs, had a change in his character after going into a coma for two weeks following a motorcycle accident in 1992.

He urged the judge to be merciful, adding that Azman has a history of mental illness and was in remission when he committed the offence.

Mr Sudheesan said: "Anybody interacting with him would realise that something is amiss... Accused persons like him need treatment. They don't need jail. They don't need caning."

After the sentencing, Mr Sudheesan said that he will write to the prison authorities so that they can determine if Azman is mentally fit for caning.

The court heard that the cleaner, a Chinese national, has since returned to her home country.

Read the full story on The Straits Times.

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