Tuesday 17 October 2017

Mother shook baby so hard she had eight broken bones, court hears

The mother pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting the four-month-old baby last year
The mother pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting the four-month-old baby last year
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A YOUNG mother suffering from post-natal depression shook her baby girl so hard she inflicted eight broken bones in her arm, leg and chest.

The 25-year-old mother pleaded guilty before Cork Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting the four-month-old baby last year.

The mother, who cannot be named to protect the identity of her child, will be sentenced in November 2014 – with Judge Sean O Donnabhain warning that it was "a highly complex case".

The woman had sought help from her GP and counsellors after admitting she had urges to squeeze her child.

A garda investigation was launched after the baby was presented at hospital with multiple injuries.

Sergeant Miriam McGuire said the baby was examined at Cork University Hospital by a pediatrician who noticed she had a number of marks on her body including pinch marks on her face and bruises to her back.

X-rays were ordered and these revealed eight fractures to her ribs, legs, arms and ribs.

A doctor ruled that, given the age of the infant, the injuries had to be non-accidental.

"They would have been as a result of forcibly shaking a child," the garda explained.

It was determined that the injuries were inflicted by the child being grabbed from her stroller and forcibly squeezed.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) intervened in the matter and the mother co-operated fully both with gardai and HSE officials.

"She was very upset . . . she realised the enormity of what she had done. She was suffering from post-natal depression at the time," Sgt McGuire added.

REMORSEFUL

Sinead Behan BL, for the mother, said her client attended a GP 21 times before the baby suffered the injuries. She was also receiving psychiatric therapy.

Ms Behan said the mother was deeply remorseful over what had happened.

"She just could not cope. She had difficulty bonding with the baby. When the baby was brought to hospital she was open in relation to what had occurred," she explained.

Since the incident, the woman has received support from her family and from her partner.

Judge O Donnabhain noted that the mother had been open and honest with officials and, on her own volition, had gone looking for the help she needed.

However, he said one report had concerned him.

"This is a highly complex and unusual case. I am trying to deal with a problem that is not there at the moment. But if this girl gets pregnant again it seems the situation could happen again," he said.

Ms Behan said the young woman had no plans to have another baby.

The judge adjourned the case until next November to assess how the young woman was progressing.

Irish Independent

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