In a harrowing case, a 26-year-old cleaner, Chinnaiah Karthik, was sentenced on Friday to 16 years’ imprisonment and 12 strokes of the cane after pleading guilty to aggravated rape.
The incident, which occurred on May 4, 2019, involved the brutal assault of a 23-year-old university student.
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED :
Victim Boarded Wrong Train
According to report, the victim, whose identity remains protected by a gag order, found herself at Kranji MRT station after accidentally boarding the wrong train.
On the evening of May 3, 2019, the victim attended an event for her company at Changi International Airport. After the event, she left around 11pm with the intention of taking a Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) train back to her on-campus residence.
However, due to an unfortunate mistake, she inadvertently boarded the incorrect train and found herself at Kranji MRT station sometime between 12am and 1am on May 4, 2019.
While on a long-distance phone call with her then-boyfriend, she became embroiled in a verbal dispute. Seeking privacy, the student decided to walk to the next bus stop.
According to Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Kayal Pillay, due to being engrossed in the call, she failed to notice her surroundings and unintentionally walked for approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
Fight With Boyfriend Over Phone
Additionally, while engaged in a heated argument with her boyfriend, she began to shed tears. It was during this altercation that Chinnaiah, an Indian national, approached her and inquired about her well-being.
After informing him that she was fine and requesting that he leave her alone, the student noticed that she was in an unfamiliar location. Wanting to retrace her steps and head back to Kranji MRT station, she began to turn around.
However, Chinnaiah forcefully grabbed her arm and pushed her in the direction she was originally heading, insisting, “you go, you go.”
Ra*ist Followed Her
Due to Chinnaiah’s unclear and mumbling speech, the student had difficulty understanding him. Nonetheless, she continued walking in the direction he had indicated while frequently glancing back to see that Chinnaiah had settled on a ledge facing the road. It was only after looking back once again that the student realized Chinnaiah had started to follow her.
Upon informing her boyfriend about the situation, he advised her to seek safety in an open area and attempt to hail a taxi. However, as there were no available means to do so, she made the decision to cross the road and make her way back to Kranji MRT station.
When the victim, still engaged in her phone call, reached the road divider, Chinnaiah caught up with her and swiftly launched a punch at her face. Startled by her screams, the victim’s boyfriend repeatedly shouted to her, but she remained unresponsive.
SEXUALLY ASSAULTED HER AFTER ATTACK
At this juncture, Chinnaiah continued assaulting her by repeatedly striking her face, causing her spectacles to become dislodged and impairing her vision. Subsequently, he placed his right arm around her neck, subjecting her to a headlock that left the student struggling to breathe.
Chinnaiah proceeded to forcefully drag her across the road, leading her into a wooded area where he forcefully threw her onto the grass. He then climbed on top of her and subjected her to a sexual assault.
Her screams for help went unanswered as Chinnaiah continued his assault, repeatedly striking her face and rendering her unable to see clearly. He then subjected her to further violence, dragging her into a nearby forested area, where he raped her. Throughout the assault, he maintained a firm grip around her neck, making it difficult for her to breathe.
Following the rape, Chinnaiah rummaged through the victim’s belongings, taking her water bottle and drinking from it before pouring the remaining water over her lower body. As he left the scene, the traumatized student, armed with scissors she had found in her bag, anxiously awaited help.
Her boyfriend, contacted by phone, alerted a friend who promptly called the police.
The victim was taken to the hospital, where she underwent a sexual assault examination revealing multiple injuries, including strangulation marks on her neck.
After an extensive investigation, the police apprehended Chinnaiah, thanks to surveillance footage from the Land Transport Authority and police cameras. The footage showed him tailing the victim, hiding behind trees to evade detection, and ultimately disappearing with her along Turf Club Avenue.
Chinnaiah was arrested on May 5, 2019, according to the report.
During the trial, the prosecution argued for a sentence of 15 to 17 years’ imprisonment and 16 to 18 strokes of the cane, emphasizing the extreme violence employed by Chinnaiah and the premeditated nature of the attack. The victim’s impact statement, delivered on July 13, 2023, described the lasting trauma she continues to endure, including nightmares, flashbacks, and thoughts of suicide.
Chinnaiah, a 26-year-old cleaner, was sentenced on Friday (Oct 27) to 16 years’ imprisonment and 12 strokes of the cane after admitting guilt to the charge of aggravated rape. The court considered one additional charge of abduction and a theft charge when determining the sentence.
The rape incident occurred on May 4, 2019. The court was informed that the reason for the delay in bringing the case to trial was due to multiple rounds of psychiatric evaluation required to assess Chinnaiah’s mental condition.
The court ultimately handed down a 16-year prison term and 12 strokes of the cane for the charge of aggravated rape.
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