Saturday 22 October 2016

Jail for mum who failed to protect son from rapist dad

Conor Gallagher

Published 18/10/2016 | 02:30

The mother was convicted of a single count of child cruelty relating to the events in the house.
The mother was convicted of a single count of child cruelty relating to the events in the house.

A mother who failed to protect her six-year-old son from "extreme sexual violence" by his father has been jailed for 18 months.

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Last week the boy's father was jailed for 14 years for raping the child and locking him in a wooden box in the family home in Waterford.

The mother was convicted of a single count of child cruelty relating to the events in the house. Yesterday, Mr Justice Robert Eagar said he was sentencing her on the basis that she was aware of the abuse of her son but failed to protect him or alert the authorities.

The court previously heard the boy believes his mother is a "kind woman" and "doesn't think she did anything wrong".

The woman said she believes the now 13-year-old boy has made up all the allegations against his father and she wants no further contact with him.

Reports handed in to the court stated the woman has a mild to significant intellectual disability, is highly suggestive, and vulnerable to exploitation.

She remains in regular contact with the child's father and prison staff are concerned she is being manipulated by him.

The reports also detailed the woman's "appalling family background" where sexual abuse had been the norm. She grew up in the UK where she was sexually abused by her mother's partner from the age of seven before becoming pregnant to him at age 14. She moved to Ireland with the man before having three more children, all of whom were taken into care. She met her co-accused in 2001 and had a fifth child, the boy at the centre of this case, in 2003.

Mr Justice Eagar said the woman had failed to protect her son. He imposed a three-year sentence, with the final 18 months suspended on several conditions, including that she have no contact with her partner for that period. There was no reaction from the woman.

Last May, a jury at the Central Criminal Court convicted the 66-year-old father, who is also from the UK, of nine counts of raping his son from the age of six, and one count of child cruelty.

The woman was convicted of child cruelty but found not guilty of sex assault relating to allegations she had sex or simulated sex with her child. Both parents pleaded not guilty to the offences, which occurred between 2009 and 2011.

In a victim impact report, the boy, who is now in specialised residential care in the UK, told the Central Criminal Court he wished he "could have taken her away from" his father. He said he felt sorry for her but wished that she had taken him away when the abuse started.

John O'Kelly SC, defending, said the woman fell into a "perfect storm of abuse". He said his client "never had a chance from the age of seven" and "has had hardly any breaks in life except for the very worst kind".

Irish Independent

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