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Judicial CP - October 2003
Straits Times, Singapore, 30 October 2003
Condo guard turns rapist terror
17 years, 24 strokes for man who broke into flat, beat up expatriate woman, raped and infected her with sex disease
By Elena Chong and Glenys Sim
AS A teenager, Dhanabal Senthil Kumaran was convicted of burglary and put on probation. But he committed other offences during his probation and was sent for reformative training in 1997.
It seemed to work. Residents at the apartment block in the Balestier Road area where he worked as a security guard said he appeared to be a hardworking family man and sometimes brought his wife and child to work with him.
Cordial, friendly, nice.
But early on Feb 28, he broke into an apartment there, beat up the 27-year-old Filipino expatriate living there and raped her once on the floor and a second time on her bed, claiming he loved her.
Then he fell asleep.
Yesterday Dhanabal, 24, was sentenced to 17 years' jail and the maximum 24 strokes of the cane.
Not only did he leave her with bruises all over her body, he also gave her gonorrhoea.
When Deputy Public Prosecutor Ho Su-Lyn urged the judge to impose a 'proper and fitting sentence', she told the court the ordeal had left the young woman mentally and emotionally scarred.
'The victim is now more paranoid and keeps checking on the doors in her apartment to make sure that they are locked. She also suffers from panic attacks, especially at night, and as such, is unable to sleep,' she said.
The victim is suspicious of strangers and no longer goes home alone late at night, she said.
The woman is an executive in an international firm who started working in Singapore in the middle of last year.
DPP Nor'ashikin Samdin told the court that early on the morning of the attack, Dhanabal climbed onto a rubbish chute, swung himself over a railing to get to the service balcony and entered the woman's flat.
He pocketed $110 from a table in the living room, then grabbed a wooden stool, entered the bedroom and hit the woman on the head.
He dragged her onto the floor and pinned her down. When she screamed and struggled, he covered her mouth and threatened to kill her, a threat he would repeat again and again.
He loved her and wanted to have sex with her, he said.
After raping her once, he forced the terrified woman to lie on the bed. He used vulgar words and forced her to obey and remove her nightgown.
He threatened to kill her unless she stopped crying, and out of fear, she complied. He raped her again and then kissed and caressed her.
When he asked if she could ever love him, she said she had to know who he was. He told her, even switching on the light so she could see him, but said he would kill her if she told the police.
Later, he went to fetch water and she pretended to be asleep. When he returned, he fell asleep next to her and she ran to a neighbour's flat.
Dhanabal was still in her room when he was arrested.
Yesterday, DPP Ho said Dhanabal's conduct was all the more reprehensible since his job gave him easy access to the condominium.
He had also gone drinking while on duty, she said.
Dhanabal said he was truly sorry and begged the victim to forgive him. He said that while he was on remand, his baby son had died and his wife had left him.
Justice M.P.H. Rubin called his actions 'truly wicked and entirely deplorable'.
'The physical and emotional pain you have inflicted on the victim is huge, and the trauma she had obviously suffered can neither be quantified nor could ever be erased from her mind,' he said.
On Tuesday, residents of the condominium where Dhanabal used to work said they did not feel uneasy. One, a doctor, said: 'One bad guard doesn't mean all the others are bad as well.'
Another resident, also a doctor, said that ever since the incident, the guards had been very good.
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