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Sunday 25 June 2017

One year on, abused tot still cowers in fear from strangers

Barry Duggan

A BABY beaten so severely that his arms were broken still raises his hands to defend himself when strangers approach him -- one year after the vicious attacks.

Speaking exclusively to the Irish Independent, the mother of the now 23-month-old boy said she believes he will never recover fully from the ordeal.

She also said she was simply too scared to raise the alarm as the horrific abuse continued for a month -- but will have to explain his scars to him when he gets older.

Larry Connors (20), of Cronan Lawn, Shannon, Co Clare, was sentenced to three years in jail earlier this week after pleading guilty to cruelty to the child on dates between 15 December, 2010 and 3 January, 2011.

The Director of Public Prosecutions is set to appeal the sentence in an attempt to secure a longer jail term.

Speaking from her Welsh home, the 19-year-old mother -- who cannot be identified for legal reasons -- said Connors was not adequately punished.

Ennis Circuit Court was told medics found the baby suffered two broken forearms, a dislocated right elbow, a significant brain bleed, a bite mark to his right cheek, a burn mark from an iron to his calf, and multiple bruising across his body when admitted to hospital early last year

"At least he (Connors) got something anyway but it is not long enough. If that's all he is going to get I'll just have to deal with it," the boy's mother said yesterday.

She said her son continuously suffers nightmares.

"He is a happy child, but he still wakes up in the middle of the night screaming over what happened. When people go to him, he puts his hands up (to defend himself). He is scared."

Scars

"He is alright around my family, but any strangers coming up to him, he gets scared and he'll put his hands up so he won't get hurt -- it is heartbreaking to see. He has two scars on his elbow so he is going to know what happened when he is older."

She met Connors in August 2010 before she moved into an apartment with him that December in Co Clare. The assaults on her child began immediately.

"He would punch, slap or kick him. I think he (Connors) was jealous really as I was paying more attention to him than Larry. When I used to put the child in the baby chair to feed him, he would go over and put his foot in between his legs and push back and tighten the straps so the baby couldn't breathe.

"Then when I used to loosen the straps, he'd push me out of the way and do it 10 times tighter."

The young mother said she was frightened during the month-long ordeal, but had no means to raise the alarm.

"He (Connors) had the phone, the money and the keys to the door -- he'd always lock it. I had nothing. We were prisoners in our own home," she added.

"Gda David Laing was more than helpful to me. He was brilliant -- all the guards were," she said.

She said her son requires ongoing treatment.

"He has got two appointments soon -- one for speech therapy and one to reset his arm.

"He can say a few words, but not as much as he should be saying for his age.

"When he gets older, I will have to tell him what Larry done to him. He'll ask questions when he sees his scars."

Irish Independent

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