A Bangladeshi man is on trial for allegedly abducting a hiker at MacRitchie Reservoir Park in 2015, forcing her off the Lornie Trail at knifepoint and raping her twice in a forested area.
Construction worker Pramanik Liton, 24, denied the charges on Tuesday (May 16) at the opening of his trial. He faces four counts, including two for aggravated rape, one for sexual assault and one for abduction for illicit intercourse.
The victim, a 40-year-old Chinese national, had been hiking the Lornie Trail alone on Feb 8, 2015, when Liton accosted her and asked her to have sex with him. When she refused, Liton pressed a knife to her throat, covered her mouth and forced her off the trail.
He took her deep into the forested area off the trail, where he raped her twice at knifepoint and forced her into other sexual acts. She feared for her life and pleaded with Liton to let her go, the High Court heard.
The ordeal lasted nearly two hours, from 1.45pm when the woman was abducted, until about 3.37pm when Liton threw the knife in the bushes and left the victim in the forest.
She called her then-boyfriend for help. They met at the Mushroom Cafe near the entrance of MacRitchie Reservoir Park, and he took her to make a police report immediately.
Trackers from the Gurkha contingent were sent into the forest to locate the scene of the crime and to recover the weapon.
The crime scene was located at about 9.30pm the same day. The Gurkha who discovered the scene said the ground was flattened in places and pieces of tissue were littered around the area. The pieces of tissue were seized by the police, and tested positive for Liton’s semen.
The knife was recovered the next day by another Gurkha and handed over to the police. A crime scene specialist lifted a fingerprint off the blade of the knife, which matched Liton’s. He was arrested on Feb 10 at the construction site where he worked.
Blood samples were taken from both Liton and the victim, which allowed investigators to tie Liton to the rape. His semen was found on the victim’s panties, as well as on swabs taken from the victim’s mouth and vagina. His DNA was also found on the victim’s blouse, and hers was found on the knife.
Prosecutors Stella Tan and Sruthi Boppana said they would adduce evidence from 44 witnesses to make their case, including the victim and her then-boyfriend.
Liton is not represented. Through a Bengali interpreter, he told the court: “I don’t want any lawyer.” At one point, he also insisted he “doesn’t know anything about the knife”.
The trial continues.
If convicted of aggravated rape, Liton faces at least eight years in jail and a minimum of 12 strokes of the cane, per charge.