A sudden urge to recreate robbery scenes in films he had seen before led 18-year-old Jacob Seow to rob a 7-Eleven store in Sengkang last year, according to his defence lawyer.
Ashwin Ganapathy of IRB Law told the court on Fri (21 Feb) that his client, who is currently doing national service with the Singapore Civil Defence Force, “merely kept silent” when questioned as to why he felt such an urge.
Mr Seow, who plead guilty to one charge of robbery, had decided to carry out the offence at the 7-Eleven outlet at Block 403A, Fernvale Lane on 3 Aug last year, knowing that only one employee would be working at the outlet that night.
With a fruit knife at his disposal, he left his house half an hour after midnight on 4 Aug and entered the 7-Eleven outlet.
Mr Seow pointed a knife at a 21-year-old store assistant shortly after placing a chocolate bar on the cashier counter and demanded the assistant to place cash and cigarettes inside his backpack, which he had also placed on the counter.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Sean Teh told the court that the victim could only place cigarettes inside as he was not able to open the cash register.
Mr Seow then took six packs of cigarettes costing between S$12.60 and S$14.30, inserted them in his backpack, and took a S$2.90 Cheesy Chicken burger from the refrigerator.
While Mr Seow spared the victim his mobile phone, he placed his hands on the victim’s neck and strangled him in a bid to make the victim faint and stall the victim’s ability to call the police.
He ceased doing so upon realising that there were people who would enter the outlet, and thanked the victim for allowing him to steal before exiting the store and making his way to a basketball court near his house, where he changed into another set of clothing he had kept in his backpack.
Having eaten the burger and one of the cigarettes, he intended to rob another 7-Eleven outlet in the area due to not getting cash from the earlier robbery but decided against it after realising that he did not have a different set of clothes to change into.
Mr Seow reportedly said that he was hungry and had no money to buy food at the time he committed the robbery. He added that he feels angry at himself for bringing shame to his family.
Mr Ganapathy told the court that Mr Seow had “periodically asserted that he was wrong and ‘evil’ to do such a thing”, and had “written a letter of apology to the victim”.
“Our client has realised the gravity of his actions and completely understands that his actions are not only illegal, but had put the victim under considerable fear and trauma,” he said.
Mr Ganapathy said that while Mr Seow is young and did not have any previous criminal records, he did not oppose the prosecution’s calling for a reformative training report, given the gravity of the offence committed by his client.
The defence lawyer however asked for a probation report, to which the prosecutor did not object.
The judge subsequently called for both probation and reformative training reports.
Seow was remanded and will return to court for sentencing next Fri (28 Feb).