by R. VenuGopal, Bharat Times

Manpreet Singh, 28, was fraudulently using a friend’s Uber account when he saw an intoxicated woman walking in the rain through Richmond carrying her shoes in her hand.

Manpreet targetted the heavily intoxicated woman when she stopped to vomit in the alcove of a building in Melbourne’s inner suburb of Richmond. She had attended a Christmas party where she had been drinking with her friends at the Swan Hotel before starting to walk home along Church Street around 1.57 am.

At 2.15am her mobile phone recorded a cancelled Uber transaction.

The court heard the woman refused his advances and walked away.

“He attempted to lead her to his vehicle but she resisted,” Crown prosecutor Hilary Bonney said.

Then Manpreet followed her in his car for a short distance, and finally managed to get her into his car – silver 2010 Holden Commodore sedan.

He then drove the woman more than 20 kilometres to the home he shared in Mulgrave with five other Indian nationals at 3.45am where he  raped her in his bedroom.

At 5am the victim regained consciousness to find Singh on top of her.

She managed to run from the house and call triple zero.

Ms Bonney said the incident was an opportunist attack on a vulnerable young woman.

“She remembers coming to in a strange place,” Ms Bonney said.

The court heard Singh’s housemate had later told police he had received a call from the 28-year-old stating that “he was in trouble” and to “tell me if the cops come”.

In a victim impact statement read out to the court, the woman said she had become wary of strangers, suffered regular nightmares and her long term relationship with her boyfriend had broken down since the attack.

She subsequently had to move out of the home they shared and leave her job following what she described as “the worst night of my life”.

The victim also described the onerous and difficult legal process she had endured.

“That night I lost my belongings … but over the past eight or nine months I’ve also lost my job … my stable relationship and my home,” she wrote in her statement.

Manpreet was on a bridging visa at the time of the attack, awaiting approval of his application for permanent residency after his student visa had expired.

Manpreet came to Australia in 2009 and worked at various car washes at Doncaster, Nunawading and Bulleen before beginning to drive Ubers in late 2016.

He also delivered pizzas for Crust in Richmond before his arrest.

On September 11, Judge Peter Lauritsen sentenced Singh to five years and six months with a non-parole period of three years and four months.

“Australia was his lifetime opportunity which he has destroyed in the course of his offending against this victim. He has only himself to blame,” Manpreet’s barrister Bradley Newton said.

With Manpreet’s sentence being longer than 12 months, he automatically fails the character test under the Australian Migration Act 1958 and thus will be deported back to India when he finishes his jail term.

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