A MAN who sexually abused his daughter from a young age has avoided being sent to prison after his victim pleaded for him not to receive a jail term.
Earlier this month, Limerick businessman and former guesthouse owner Oliver Haskett was remanded in custody and warned he would be going to jail after harrowing evidence of the abuse suffered by his daughter Sheila Ryan was outlined at Limerick Circuit Court.
Yesterday, he received a four-year suspended jail term.
Ms Ryan (36) was praised for her "Christian charity and forgiveness" after she pleaded that the man responsible for her dysfunctional childhood not be sent to jail.
The victim, who waived her right to anonymity, told gardai the abuse started when she was five years old and also recalled how she was beaten and chastised by her father for mispronouncing words.
The mother-of-two recalled how some of the abuse took place in the downstairs bedroom of a bed-and-breakfast that her parents operated in Adare, Co Limerick.
Mr Haskett, with an address at Westbury, Co Clare, pleaded guilty to 12 counts of indecent assault on his daughter Sheila Ryan, between January 1988 and December 31, 1990, and a further 20 counts of sexual assault between September 1991 and December 1995.
The offences occurred at the former family homes in Foynes, Kilcornan, and Adare in Co Limerick.
Before sentence was imposed yesterday, Judge Carroll Moran was told that Ms Ryan did not want her father to get a custodial sentence.
Counsel for the State, Michael Collins, said the 36-year-old was shocked when she saw her father going into custody following the last court appearance, and said she had written a letter indicating she did not want her father going to jail.
Judge Carroll Moran said Mr Haskett, a father of four, was guilty of a breach of trust and the fact he had abused his own child was a further breach of the trust she was entitled to.
In her victim-impact statement, Ms Ryan revealed how she had come close to suicide and struggled with depression, eating disorders and alcohol abuse as a result of her dysfunctional childhood.
The court heard how the young girl was in "extreme fear" of her father, who would inflict severe punishment if she was bold.
Ms Ryan said she was "physically, emotionally and sexually abused by her father".
Defence counsel Pat Barriscale said his client sold an investment property for €166,000, which he gave to his daughter in recognition of the wrong he has caused her.
Imposing a four-year suspended jail term, Judge Moran said he had taken into account Ms Ryan's wishes.
Addressing Mr Haskett directly, Judge Moran said: "I want to commend your daughter for her Christian charity and forgiveness."
Judge Moran also ordered that Mr Haskett's name be placed on the Register of Sex Offenders for five years.