A woman’s rapist attempted to add her as a friend on Facebook while waiting on his trial.
The woman told the Palmerston North District Court today that her former colleague had ruined her life when he’d raped her while she slept nearly 15 years ago.
“My life was my dream, and I was making good progress,” she said.
Since that night she turned to alcohol, meth and gambling to drown out the memories of the rape.
“After being raped I felt like I couldn’t wear any of the clothes from that year.
“I changed everything about myself. I changed because I didn’t want to be the person I was in 2007.”
Kunwar Singh was today sentenced to six years and seven months imprisonment for raping the woman, who has automatic name suppression, nearly 15 years ago.
According to the summary of facts Singh and the woman worked at an Indian restaurant together in Paraparaumu.
Sometime between February and May in 2007 the woman opted to stay the night at a house where many of the employees of that restaurant lived.
She fell asleep on a mattress on the floor of the living room and woke to find Singh removing her clothes.
He then forcibly raped her, whispering in her ear when he was done that he would see her in the morning.
The woman left the house and went to a friend’s nearby.
Her victim impact statement was read out for her in court while she sat in the back of the courtroom.
“I recall Kunwar whispering in my ear during the rape. I hate it when anyone tries to do this now … even my own daughter,” the victim told the court.
“Kunwar stole who I was for his own pleasure. I’m here to pick up the pieces and begin again.”
She said it took her until 2018 to summon the courage to report the rape to police.
“I thought reporting the rape would help … but it did the opposite. It put me back in the dark place I was slowly emerging from.”
Trial delays due to Covid-19 restrictions caused her extreme stress and she even moved cities at the start of the trial.
Then during the waiting period for the trial she received a Facebook friend request from Singh which destroyed any semblance of safety she had.
Singh has denied the rape ever happened, despite being found guilty by a jury in December last year.
Judge Bruce Northwood said in his sentencing that Singh had been a New Zealand resident for 20 years and had numerous letters of reference to his credit.
“It is a tragedy for all concerned, that a well-thought-of man is in this kind of situation,” he said.
“But you are here because of your own actions and you must take responsibility.”
Judge Northwood said the sentence would be hard for Singh’s wife and daughter who were living in India.
“You denied the offending to the police and at your trial.
“Put bluntly Mr Singh, the jury’s verdict is consistent with you helping yourself sexually to the victim without her consent.
“Although [it has] taken many years to go to the police, trauma like this is horrific and victims must move at their own pace to challenge it.”
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