SINGAPORE — Spotting a 21-year-old woman who was feeling drunk and sitting by herself at an event for exchange students, Erugula Eswara Reddy picked her up from her seat and carried her towards a nearby empty field along Turf Club Road.
Thinking nobody could see them, the Indian national began touching her in the middle of the field before removing his clothes.
On Friday (Jan 19), Reddy, now 25, pleaded guilty to outraging the modesty of the woman using wrongful restraint, and was sentenced to four years’ jail and six strokes of the cane.
His sentence will be backdated to Aug 21, 2022 when he was arrested.
The victim, a foreigner who was studying at a Singapore university on an exchange programme, cannot be named due to a court order to protect her identity.
The victim was out for dinner and drinks with her friends on Aug 20 in 2022, before heading on her own to an event for exchange students at a restaurant on Turf Club Road.
After drinking more at the event, she felt unwell and threw up. She then took a seat alone and sent a phone text message to her friend, who was supposed to be at the event, asking him where he was.
They both then shared their live locations using WhatsApp.
Spotting the victim, Reddy — who was in Singapore on a student pass — stood close by and talked to her, making her uncomfortable. She then said that she did not need any help and at about 1.40am, messaged her friend about Reddy.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) John Lu said that Reddy then picked up the victim from the chair and left the event.
Court documents did not provide details of who else was at the event and if anyone tried to stop Reddy. It also did not state the university where the victim was studying.
DPP Lu said: “The victim could not see where the accused was taking her as her back was facing the direction in which they were moving.”
Reddy also took her phone away and walked towards an empty field nearby.
He then laid the victim down and hovered over her.
“The victim asked the accused to stop and not to get close to her but the accused did not listen,” DPP Lu said.
Reddy agreed to return the victim her mobile phone and she messaged her friend “asking for help as she was being raped”, before Reddy soon took away the phone again.
He then kissed her and removed her clothes from the waist down, before touching her private parts. Ignoring her pleas to stop, he then removed his clothes.
At the same time, the victim’s friend was concerned about the messages he had received and went with some friends to search for her based on her last live location.
He heard a scream and spotted Reddy and the victim at the nearby open field. He and his friends then headed towards them.
“The victim was crying and kept saying sorry (when her friend arrived),” DPP Lu said, adding that the victim’s friends called the police and helped her dress up.
Reddy was then arrested. He has remained in remand since then.
VICTIM ‘CLEARLY TRAUMATISED’
DPP Lu sought a sentence of four years’ jail and six strokes of the cane, noting that Reddy had “demonstrated a level of premeditation and planning by chatting up the victim” before carrying her away.
“During his interaction with the victim, the accused must have noticed that the victim was drunk, alone and vulnerable, which was why the accused chose to take advantage of her,” DPP Lu said.
“The victim was clearly traumatised by the accused’s actions, as she was seen crying and saying sorry multiple times by (her friend), who came to her aid.”
Reddy’s lawyer, Mr Wasiur Rehman from law firm Regal Law, said that Reddy was remorseful and had been drunk during the incident.
Mr Rehman also said that Reddy’s level of planning was “low” and called for a sentence of about 3.5 years’ jail.
Agreeing with the prosecution, District Judge Ow Yong Tuck Leong said that Reddy had traumatised the victim, but acknowledged that he had spared her of a trial by pleading guilty.
For outraging the victim’s modesty using wrongful restraint, Reddy faced a jail term of up to 10 years and caning. The charge carries a minimum jail term of two years.