A 61-year-old man who subjected his young daughter to years of sexual abuse has avoided a prison sentence, after his victim indicated she did not wish to see her father jailed.
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 young daughter was outlined at Limerick Circuit Court.
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.
Ms Ryan 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.
She said some of the abuse took place in the downstairs bedroom of a Bed and Breakfast which her parents operated in Adare Co Limerick.
Before sentence was imposed today 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 now 36-year-old was shocked when she saw her father going into custody following his last court appearance, and said she had written a letter indicating she did now 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 this trust.
Judge Moran said the natural paternal instinct was to protect not to abuse and that Mr Haskett's actions had resulted in the premature sexualisation of his daughter Sheila.
In her victim impact statement Ms Ryan revealed show she had come close to suicide and struggled with depression, eating disorders and alcohol abuse, as a result of her dysfunctional childhood.
Imposing a four year suspended jail term Judge Moran said he had taken into account Ms Ryan's wishes that she did not want to see her father going to jail.
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 place on the Register fo Sex Offenders for five years.