17 years' jail, caning for rapist

Man sexually assaulted cleaner at knifepoint after robbery was foiled

A man who raped a cleaner at knifepoint after she thwarted his attempt to rob her was yesterday sentenced to 17 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane.

Kelvin Singh, 25, pleaded guilty in August to a charge of aggravated rape and two charges of aggravated sexual assault by penetration.

The attack took place past midnight in Serangoon Gardens on Jan 13 last year. Four other charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.

The prosecution had sought 18 years' jail, while the defence had asked for 16 years' jail.

The High Court heard in August that Singh, who had absconded from the Reformative Training Centre at the time, was cycling in Serangoon Gardens, looking for victims to rob when he spotted the woman.

The Chinese national, who cannot be named to protect her identity, was walking home after work. Singh followed the 42-year-old into a back alley off Worthing Road beside Kensington Park condominium, and approached her with a foldable Swiss Army knife.

Suspecting that he was going to rob her, the woman threw her handbag containing about $800 over the fence into the compound of a house along the alley.

When Singh pointed the knife at her and demanded money, the woman pointed at the house and told him "no money" in English. Angry that his robbery attempt failed, Singh decided to rape her.

Holding the knife, he signalled for her to follow him to the end of the alley, where he forced her to perform oral sex on him and raped her after threatening her with the knife. The woman did as she was told out of fear that he would kill her.

After the sexual assault, Singh made a slitting gesture across his own throat and warned her not to call the police, before cycling off.

The woman then called her boyfriend. When the 38-year-old driver arrived, the woman told him about the foiled robbery but felt too embarrassed to mention the sexual assault.

The boyfriend reported the attempted robbery to the police.

Three days later, a member of the public alerted the police after spotting Singh cycling around the nearby Tavistock Avenue Park. When police officers arrived and identified themselves to Singh, he fled on foot. He boarded a taxi at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3, but was arrested after a brief chase.

COURT & CRIMEcrimecourt