Man, 51, gets 20 years for raping, sexually assaulting young niece
She was 14 when he raped her and told her that his sexual acts were 'normal'
He was her uncle but became her father figure after her dad died in 2003.
She was then 11 and started calling him "appa" (father in Tamil).
On Feb 25, 2005, he sexually assaulted her.
She was just 12.
More than a year later, he raped her.
Last Tuesday, the 51-year-old Malaysian was sentenced to 20 years' jail. No caning was imposed as he is above 50 years old.
The man, a former construction firm supervisor, was convicted on six charges - of raping, molesting and having oral sex with the young girl between 2005 and 2008.
He cannot be identified to protect the girl's identity.
The court heard that the girl and her uncle met very often and spoke on the phone almost daily, sometimes about sexual matters.
He started molesting her by touching her breasts and private parts even before Feb 25, 2005 - the day when he forced her to have oral sex.
He even told her that he would be upset if she failed to keep these acts a secret as she would not be a good girl.
The court was told the victim remembered the assault clearly because it was on the day her mother was taken seriously ill and warded in the intensive care unit of Changi General Hospital after vomiting blood.
The girl, who was in school, was told to go home, where her uncle was waiting to take her to the hospital.
When the victim got to her flat in the east, where she, her elder sister and their mother were living then, the uncle was watching pornography on his mobile phone.
He then removed the young girl's clothes and assaulted her with oral sex, only stopping when his wife called.
The uncle assaulted her again that same night by molesting her after they returned from the hospital.
It was in June 2006 that he raped her. She was only 14.
The rape happened in the uncle's bedroom in his Hougang flat. The victim believed him when he said that it was normal.
The court heard that she complied because he was her "appa" and she thought that she had to listen to him or she would not be a good girl.
The uncle sexually assaulted her two more times - once in 2006 and again in 2008.
It was not until March 2011, when the victim was placed on probation for theft, that she told her probation officer of the attacks. But when told to make a police report, the girl hesitated.
She eventually reported the attacks to the police a month later.
In his defence, the man said he and the girl had arrived at a mutual understanding that they wanted a sexual relationship, and that all the sex acts were consensual.
He added that the accusation of sexual assault came up after a quarrel in early May 2011 over money and the victim threatened to shame her uncle's family.
In sentencing, Justice Tay Yong Kwang said he believed the victim trusted her uncle and obeyed his instructions, and when he assured her that the sexual acts were normal, she had no reason to doubt him.
As for the quarrel, Justice Tay said the girl had told her probation officer of the assault a month before that.
"The evidence did not support a picture of a vengeful and purposeful decision to lodge the complaint... Given the defence's own position that he remained on good terms with the victim until 2011, she would not have treated her uncle as collateral damage and sought to put him in prison with false allegations," Justice Tay wrote in his judgement.
Calling the defence's evidence "inconsistent" and saying that it "lacked credibility", he meted out the 20-year sentence.
The man has appealed against his punishment.