SINGAPORE: A man violently assaulted a woman in a lift, ignoring her pleas, resisting her attempts to crawl out and leaving her with severe psychological trauma.
In an attack that lasted seven minutes, 35-year-old Mohammad Fadil Othman hit his victim on the back of her head, choked her and pulled her hair so forcefully that clumps of hair were torn off her scalp.
On Tuesday (Mar 24), Fadil Othman was sentenced to 11-and-a-half years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane.
The court heard that Fadil was in North Bridge Road in the early hours of Apr 20 last year when he saw several girls walking around and felt a sudden urge to have sex with them.
He sat down on a bench and spotted the victim, whom he found to be attractive.
He targeted her for sex, thinking she would not be able to identify him as he thought she was drunk.
At about 3.20am, he followed the woman into a lift. The minute the doors closed, he molested her.
Closed-circuit television footage captured the assault.
SHE BEGGED HIM NOT TO TOUCH HER
The victim - a foreigner who had arrived in Singapore five days earlier - resisted and struggled, begging Fadil not to touch her.
"He admitted that the more she said 'no', the more he felt he had to touch her," said the prosecution.
The lift doors opened at the sixth floor, and the woman tried to crawl out of the lift.
Fadil crouched over her back to try and restrain her as she crawled out, hitting her on her back and head and pulling her hair so forcefully that clumps of hair was torn off her scalp.
He then pushed her back into the lift, pressed the button for the 14th floor and choked her, covering her mouth with his hands.
The woman fell to her knees and begged Fadil not to touch her, but he continued choking her to stop her from screaming.
When the doors opened again at the 14th floor, the woman tried to flee, but Fadil restrained her outside the lift.
He then sexually assaulted her before putting his finger to his lips to tell her to be quiet and not report the incident to the police.
He fled after checking that no one was around, but his actions in the lift were captured on CCTV cameras.
The woman took the lift back to the ground floor and tried to call her friend for help but could not get a signal.
Finally, she got through to her friend and he met her, before running into police officers at the void deck.
She told them what happened and Fadil was arrested that same night and remanded soon after.
VICTIM DIAGNOSED WITH PTSD
The woman suffered bruises on her knees and a scratch on her face. She was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the physical and sexual violence inflicted on her.
According to a psychiatric report from the Institute of Mental Health, she was visibly distressed and upset when she spoke about the ordeal and has since had anxiety, hyper-vigilance and sleeping difficulties.
She experiences recurrent nightmares and was put on antidepressants and referred to a psychologist for therapy.
The man pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated sexual assault by penetration.
The prosecutors called for at least 12 years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane, saying that women have the right to go about unmolested and to "go home without worrying that they would be sexually assaulted in their neighbourhood".
"The accused's seven minutes of sexual gratification will haunt the victim for an immeasurably longer time," said Deputy Public Prosecutors Joshua Lim and Grace Teo.
The man could have been jailed between eight and 20 years and given at least 12 strokes of the cane.