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Indian national sentenced to 16 years' jail for raping university student in Singapore

Singapore: A court here has sentenced a 26-year-old Indian national to 16 years’ jail and 12 strokes of the cane for raping a university student in 2019.

It also took charges of abduction and theft into consideration for the sentencing.

The TODAY newspaper reported that after stalking the university student as she walked to a bus stop late at night, Chinnaiah, who worked here as a cleaner, pointed her in the wrong direction and then punched her before dragging her to a forested area and viciously raping her.

The victim was so badly injured with facial bruising and other injuries that her then boyfriend did not recognise her upon visiting her at the hospital.

The rape took place on May 4, 2019. The court heard that the reason for the case had taken some four years to get to it was that Chinnaiah’s mental condition had required several rounds of psychiatric evaluation.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Kayal Pillay said that while Chinnaiah was sexually assaulting the student, she had tried to pull his hand away from her throat as she was unable to breathe. But Chinnaiah responded by tightening his grip, causing her to wheeze further, Pillay said.

He also told her to keep quiet and that no one would hear her. Pillay said that after he raped her, Chinnaiah started rummaging through her belongings. He took her water bottle and drank from it before he poured the remainder of the water over the lower half of her body.

Once he walked away, the student immediately went to her bag where she found her scissors and held them in her hand in case Chinnaiah returned, The DPP said.

While she was unable to locate her spectacles, she was able to find her mobile phone to speak to her boyfriend. He later contacted her friend who called the police.

The DPP said after police arrived, the student was taken to a hospital for a sexual assault examination where she was found to have sustained multiple scratches, bruises and scrapes, including strangulation marks over her neck area.

Chinnaiah was arrested on May 5, 2019.

Seeking 15 to 17 years’ jail and 16 to 18 strokes of the cane, the prosecution argued that the degree of violence used to facilitate the rape was extreme and his attack had been unrelenting and vicious.

DPP Yvonne Poon also said that the attack was not spur of the moment as Chinnaiah had numerous interactions with the victim and had directed her away from her last possible route to safety.

Describing Chinnaiah’s pre-meditation as ‘insidious’, DPP Poon added that the man had made serious efforts to avoid detection by making his presence less apparent as he followed her.

The DPP also referred to the university student’s victim impact statement dated July 13, 2023, where she states she still has nightmares and flashbacks, thoughts of suicide, and a sense of shame.

For aggravated rape, Chinnaiah could have been jailed for up to 20 years with no fewer than 12 strokes of the cane.

(Published 28 October 2023, 03:18 IST)

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