A court in Singapore sentenced a man to 12-and-a-half years in prison for sexually assaulting his daughter several times over a span of four years.

The 54-year-old man’s offenses came to light in March 2017 when his daughter told her boyfriend about it. The court heard the man was looking after his three children after his relationship with his wife was strained. In 2010, when the victim, who was eight years old then, approached him to help with her homework, he took her to his bedroom and asked her to perform sex acts on him. The girl did so for a while until her brother knocked on the door. The man asked the girl to not tell anyone about what had happened.

A few months later in the same year, the man called the girl to his bedroom and rubbed himself against her. The following year, the man again called the victim to his room while her siblings were asleep and asked her to perform a sex act on him. The court heard that the assault continued until 2013.

When the victim told her boyfriend about the incidents in 2017, he asked her to tell her mother about it. The girl subsequently told her mother who then confronted her husband. The accused admitted to sexually assaulting their daughter and sought the girl’s forgiveness after which the family decided to rest the matter, Channel News Asia reported.

In March 2018, the accused saw the girl returning home with her boyfriend and became angry. The man and the girl's boyfriend had an argument during which they punched each other. The girl’s mother, who was not supportive of the relationship, complained to her teacher about the boy’s bad influence on her daughter. When confronted, the boy told the teacher about the sexual abuse his girlfriend had suffered. The school immediately filed a police complaint and the man was arrested. The accused pleaded guilty to sexual assault by penetration and aggravated outrage of modesty.

handcuffs This image shows a pair of handcuffs at the Commissariat de Police Nationale (National Police Station) in Alfortville, France, Nov. 21, 2016. Photo: THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images

On Monday, the prosecution told the court, "The accused flagrantly abused the trust of the victim in committing the present offenses. The fact that the accused had embarked on his offending conduct by taking advantage of his daughter when she approached him for help with her homework underscores the degree of trust she placed in him which he had flagrantly breached."

During sentencing, the judge said he recognized the accused was remorseful.

"I take the view that his remorse is still relevant even in 2017 when he was first confronted but did not then face immediate arrest. Nevertheless, the offenses are grave and involve serious aggravating factors in the context of the father-daughter relationship. There was abuse of trust, a vulnerable victim, offenses protracted over four years when the victim was still very young. I also take the view that imprisonment in lieu of caning is warranted,” the judge said.