Thursday 21 September 2017

'House of horror children very brave'

Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

THE children who endured years of neglect, cruelty and sexual abuse at the hands of their parents showed enormous courage throughout the five-year criminal inquiry, according to the investigating garda.

The case culminated on Friday in a 14-year jail sentence for the children's father, who was found guilty of raping and abusing one of his sons, who is now 20. The children's mother was jailed for incest and neglect last year, after describing herself as the worst mother in the world.

Garda Sergeant John Hynes said the case was the worst he had dealt with in his career. "You get very emotional about things like this. I had small children at the time. You go home after spending the day interviewing these other small children and they are telling you things that they shouldn't know anything about or understand. Some of them didn't understand what happened to them. Yet they are describing what happened to them. From that point of view you go home and you look at your own children, and you say 'my God'," he said.

An investigation into the Health Service Executive's dealings with the family is to be published after a judge said that the children were failed by the system.

The children lived in a squalid, freezing home, overrun with mice and rats. They were rarely fed or washed, and were bullied at school because they were smelly and infested with lice and fleas. One child described how lice crawled down her face.

Gda Sgt Hynes said: "I have been involved with the children for the last five-and-a-half years and they are absolutely fantastic kids. Every single one of them has to be commended for the courage and bravery they showed in coming forward, in disclosing what happened to them, and helping to bring the case to a successful conclusion."

He singled out the 20-year-old son who successfully pursued the charges of rape against his father, despite his vigorous denials and being branded a liar.

"He showed such commitment to pursuit of justice and he got it, thankfully," Gda Sgt Hynes added.

Sunday Independent

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