Sunday 25 September 2016

Mother rubbed dog faeces on daughter's face during five years of neglect, court hears

Gordon Deegan

Published 10/02/2016 | 18:51

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Stock picture

A mother rubbed dog faeces on the face of her young daughter and pushed her down a stairs during a five year period of neglect.

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At Ennis District Court yesterday, Garda Donna Egan outlined the neglect in the child cruelty case committed by the 37 year old Co Clare mother against her daughter who was aged five to ten at the time.

In one incident, Garda Egan said that the girl - who is now in care - recalled a dog dirtying the kitchen floor and the girl was told to clean up the dirt on the floor by her mother.

She said: “In the course of this some of the dog dirt on the tissue was rubbed on the child’s face by her mother.”

Garda Egan said that the teenager also recalled her mother pushing her down a stairs during the period and throwing a mug at her which struck her on the head.

Garda Egan said that the girl also recalled that after she refused to tidy her bedroom, her mother as punishment put her into a bath and turned on the hot water tap.

Garda Egan said that the none of the incidents required medical treatment for the girl.

The Garda described the case as ‘heartbreaking’.

Insp Tom Kennedy said that after a long, protracted and complex investigation, the DPP recommend that the case be dealt with in the district court.

In the case, the woman pleaded guilty to the neglect of her daughter in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering to the child’s health and affect her well-being over the course of 5 years.

In the district court a maximum sentence of 12 months applies to the cruelty charge and the woman yesterday walked from free from court.

This was after Judge Patrick Durcan said that he would go along with the recommendations of a very thorough Probation Report that the woman be placed on a Probation Bond for 12 months on condition that she co-operate fully with the Probation Service, the Child and Family Agency and any other agency.

Judge Durcan said that the woman “behaved in a way towards her child which was neglectful in extreme, damaging in the extreme and which was very depriving of what any child should have when they are growing up”.

He said: “The child in question must have suffered seriously and one can only hope that the child who is now elsewhere is now in a better place and is developing with the appropriate aids and supports that are necessary.”

Garda Egan said that it was the mother who came forward in 2012 to reveal the extent of the neglect and she admitted to Gardai making the child do chores at the age of six and seven that she shouldn’t have been doing including getting coal, tidying the house and clean up after other family members.

Garda Egan said that the mother recalled that throwing a mobile phone at her daughter when she was 7 that caused a small cut under her eye and lying to school authorities about how her daughter sustained the injury.

Garda Egan said that the mother admitted not giving the child any love or  affection and that emotionally, she neglected her.

The Garda said that the mother admitted that she never bonded with daughter and didn’t have the required parenting skills in spite of attending parenting classes.

Garda Egan said that the mother could not have been more co-operative with the Gardai and that there is little contact today by mutual agreement between mother and daughter but that the door is open for parties to re-engage.

She said that five of the woman’s children are in care and agreed with Judge Durcan that she has suffered from serious psychiatric problems outlined in the Probation Report

She said that the woman recently married the father of the youngest child “and is in a more stable situation than before”

Judge Durcan said that it is an unusual case where “the defendant came from bad place and had a bad childhood”.

The judge said that the woman has admitted responsibility, co-operated with Garda Egan and all relevant services.

Addressing the woman, Judge Durcan said: “You are being released by this court today  on condition that you co-operate fully with the service. If there is any breach of that, that matter will be brought back before me and I will have no hesitation in dealing with this a different way

He said: “I appreciate and admire your acceptance of the situation and I want to compliment on that and I want to wish you well.”

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