SINGAPORE - He started touching his daughter sexually when she was as young as five years old, and when she was around 11, he started having unprotected sex with her.
The abuse took place at least once a month, and it was only when the girl was 16 years old that she realised what her father had been doing to her was wrong.
On Tuesday (May 14), the man, who is now 51 years old, was sentenced to 29 years' jail after he pleaded guilty to two charges of statutory rape and one charge of aggravated sexual assault by penetration.
Six other charges of sexual offences were considered during sentencing by Judicial Commissioner Audrey Lim, who said the man deserves severe punishment for actions that were "clearly and totally reprehensible".
The prison sentence includes a one-year term in lieu of the maximum 24 strokes of the cane the accused would have received had he not been over the age of 50.
The man cannot be named to protect the identity of his daughter, who is now 18.
The High Court heard that the man, who also has a younger son with his wife, began sexually exploiting the girl in the family's four-room flat in 2006, when she was five to six years old.
Over the years, the abuse continued and escalated, and in 2009, he began performing oral sex on her.
In December 2011, the man took both children to his sister's flat for a Christmas sleepover, during which he sexually violated the victim, then 11, in the guest bedroom.
After this incident, he started having sexual intercourse with the victim.
The abuse tapered off at the end of 2015 and in January 2016, he stopped having sex with her.
Around this time, the girl realised that her father's actions were wrong but felt confused. She was also worried that her family would be torn apart if she told her mother.
But after being encouraged to do so by a close friend in whom she had confided, the girl told her mother about the abuse in May 2017.
Her mother quickly arranged for the girl to move out and stay with an aunt. A week later, she took the girl to make a police report. The man was arrested the next day.
On Tuesday, Deputy Public Prosecutor James Chew sought at least 30 years' jail and an additional one year's jail in lieu of caning.
The DPP said the accused had exploited the inherent vulnerability of a young child who could not appreciate the nature of the acts or had reason to think that her own father had ill intentions towards her.
The man's assigned lawyer, Mr Sherman Ho, said his client is genuinely remorseful and has been trying to change for the better after turning to religion while remanded in prison.
Seeking a jail term of 23 years, the lawyer said his client understands that his family has disowned him and hopes to reconnect with them after he is released from prison.
The maximum sentence for statutory rape is 20 years' jail, which is the same for aggravated sexual assault by penetration.