A YOUNG girl was sexually abused by her father from the age of five and chastised and beaten by him for incorrectly pronouncing words, a court has heard.
Harrowing evidence of years of abuse suffered by Limerick woman Sheila Ryan at the hands of her father Oliver Haskett were disclosed at his sentencing hearing yesterday.
Ms Ryan (36), who waived her right to anonymity, told gardai how some of the abuse inflicted by her father took place in a downstairs bedroom of a bed and breakfast which her parents once ran in the Co Limerick village of Adare.
In her victim impact statement, she recalled how she tried to kill herself during the "darkest days" of her life from the ages of 13 to 23.
She described the atmosphere in her home growing up as one of "correction and control" exercised by her father, who was a dominant figure in the household.
Evidence was given of how she was once beaten over incorrectly pronouncing the word "length".
After being chastised and beaten she was brought into her father's bed for what she now knows was abuse.
Limerick Circuit Court also heard how Haskett took photographs of his daughter when she was naked.
Ms Ryan's mother would keep a "bold list" which was given to her husband at the end of each day, when he would administer punishment.
In her evidence, Garda Elaine Freemantle said the garda investigation into the abuse followed a letter of apology Haskett wrote to his daughter in September 2008 in which he apologised for abusing her for years.
The 61-year-old, formerly of Foynes, Kilcornan and Adare, but now with an address in Westbury, Corbally, Co Clare, pleaded guilty to 12 counts of indecent assault of his daughter, Sheila Ryan, between January 1988 and December 31, 1990 and to a further 20 counts of sexual assault between January 1991 and December 1995.
Evidence was heard how Haskett would "French-kiss" his daughter when she was aged 14 and would undress and touch her.
The court heard that Haskett is divorced from the victim's mother since 2005 but he has since remarried.
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. He also told the court his client had received treatment at the Granada Institute.
Ms Ryan, who is now married with children, said she still suffers from depression and recalled how she has also battled eating disorders and difficulties with alcohol.
The mother of two said she was "physically, emotionally and sexually abused by her father" during a dysfunctional childhood, which she said her mother facilitated.
Judge Carroll Moran said that it was a very difficult case and "particularly serious" as it involved the abuse by a father of his daughter.
Judge Moran said there would be a prison sentence but adjourned sentencing until October 24 as he had quite a lot to consider.
He ordered that Haskett's name be included on the Register for Sex Offenders, with the period to be determined at the next hearing.