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7 weeks’ jail, fine for man convicted of repeatedly assaulting and trapping woman in condo

SINGAPORE — A 41-year-old expatriate who attacked and confined a woman in his Farrer Road condominium unit was jailed for seven weeks and fined S$5,400 on Tuesday (Oct 5).

7 weeks’ jail, fine for man convicted of repeatedly assaulting and trapping woman in condo

Mitch Vanhille (pictured) was convicted of seven counts of voluntarily causing hurt, two counts of wrongful confinement, and one of using criminal force on a woman he attacked.

SINGAPORE — A 41-year-old expatriate who attacked and confined a woman in his Farrer Road condominium unit was jailed for seven weeks and fined S$5,400 on Tuesday (Oct 5).

Mitch Vanhille, a Belgian based in Singapore, contested all the charges in a trial that began in January last year. He was accused of committing the offences from May 16 to Nov 21 in 2018.

He was found guilty last month of seven counts of voluntarily causing hurt, two counts of wrongful confinement, and one of using criminal force on the victim, but acquitted of one charge each of assault and molestation.

Vanhille, a former regional director with sports brand Nike and who has competed in Ironman fitness competitions, did not deny most of the physical acts but gave various defences such as not deliberately aiming a remote control at her that struck her lip.

His victim cannot be named due to a court order to protect her identity. The nature of her relationship with Vanhille also cannot be publicly disclosed.

Vanhille’s jail sentence was deferred until Thursday.

CONVICTIONS

District Judge Sarah Tan had noted that the incidents took place after September 2017, when Vanhille returned to Singapore from the Ironman World Championship in the United States.

On May 16 in 2018, the victim went to his condominium unit balcony to smoke, closing the door to prevent smoke from getting into the unit.

Vanhille admitted to engaging one of the locks, testifying that he wanted to “stop her annoyance” and “get some peace and quiet”. However, the victim gave evidence that he always left that lock unlocked.

He alleged through his defence counsel that there was no wrongful confinement because two other locks on panels leading to the living and exercise room were routinely unlocked. But she testified that she had unsuccessfully tried to open the panels at the exercise room.

In finding that Vanhille had trapped the victim on the balcony, the judge referred to his phone text messages to her, which included: “Let me know when you’re ready to leave and I will let you out.”

For the second incident of wrongful confinement, the victim had gone out to the backyard on Aug 30, 2018 to smoke. Vanhille then locked the door that led to the kitchen, asserting that he did so to stop her from arguing with him.

The assault incidents comprised:

  • Throwing a remote control at the victim that hit her lip
  • Dragging her by her hair across the corridor to the main door
  • Dragging her off a bed by her legs onto the floor causing a minor elbow abrasion and head bruise
  • Repeatedly hitting her thighs with a laptop
  • Spitting on her face
  • Hitting her legs with his elbows
  • Hitting her face with a pair of jeans that had a belt attached to it

For voluntarily causing hurt, he could have been jailed for up to two years or fined up to S$10,000, or both. For wrongful confinement, he could have been jailed for up to three years or fined, or both.

Related topics

Mitch Vanhille Ironman court crime assault condominium

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