A cemetry labourer has admitted raping a 12-year-old girl who was staying at the burial ground with her family.
Roslan Jaafar, 41, befriended the girl – along with her younger sister and mother – after they started staying in a tent at the site in early 2012.
He would take the girl out to run errands, such as buying cigarettes and dinner – but used their meetings to have sex with her.
Roslan was caught only when the girl’s uncle noticed she had been missing for hours and discovered messages about “making love” on her phone.
Yesterday, he pleaded guilty in the High Court to two counts of rape and one of sexual assault of a minor.
Two other counts of sexual assault of a minor and sexual exploitation of a child will be taken into consideration when he is sentenced at a later date.
The court heard yesterday that the family moved to the burial ground temporarily as they had no fixed accommodation.
In March 2012, the two girls started playing with Roslan’s eight-year-old son at the cemetery while he was working.
Roslan later visited their tent and introduced himself to their mother. He continued to visit the family regularly and grew close to them.
In early May that year, the victim’s mother agreed to his request to take the girl out with him to buy cigarettes.
Roslan then began to take her out regularly to run errands, usually for more than two hours at a time.
He would take her on his motorcycle to a quiet spot nearby and have sex with her on a bench late at night, telling the girl not to tell her mother about it.
Although the court heard that the girl consented to having sex with him, by law, sex with a girl under 14 – with or without her consent – is considered rape.
On June 1 that year, the girl’s maternal uncle was visiting the family at the tent when Roslan took her out.
When they did not return after more than two hours, the uncle became worried.
He searched for Roslan’s number on the girl’s phone and found text messages from him.
After Roslan dropped the girl off at the tent and left, the uncle confronted her about it.
She broke down and told him what happened.
A police report was made at the Nanyang Neighbourhood Police Centre and Roslan was arrested last year.
Roslan told the court that the girl had told him she was not a virgin, but he accepted that she may have lied.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Quek Jing Feng asked for a deterrent sentence, arguing that the victim was young and vulnerable.
Roslan had betrayed the trust of the mother and that of the victim, who “would not expect a friend’s father to cause her harm”.
The case was adjourned after the Law Society’s Criminal Legal Aid Scheme said it was looking into whether to take up Roslan’s case.
The girl and her family are no longer staying in the cemetery.