Monday 26 September 2016

'We're sleeping with the doors locked and the knives hidden' - mother of troubled 14-year-old lives in fear for her life

Published 20/04/2015 | 12:55

An Garda Siochana
An Garda Siochana

A mother whose troubled 14-year-old son grabbed her by the throat and choked her has told Ryan Tubridy on 2FM that the family “sleeps with the doors locked”.

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Mary (not her real name) revealed that her son has always had behavioural problems and outbursts but that he was discharged from counselling and is currently receiving no treatment.

“He was discharged on the basis that he was unique and complex, they’ve never come across a child like him” she said.

“They couldn’t diagnose him because they think he has a little bit of everything and their solution was to give him a break from counselling and see how he went from there.”

Mary described injuries her eldest son has caused to her, her disabled husband, and her younger 11-year-old son as including “damaged jaw, black eye, split lips, bruises”.

Living with the boy, she said, has been a “nightmare” and the most recent outburst was particularly violent.

“On Good Friday he had me by the throat, he was choking me, he thumped me at the side of the head,” she said.

“He nearly knocked me out.  I was dizzy and vomiting so I called the guards.”

She added, “The aggression is constantly there, anything could trigger him.  We were walking on eggshells.”

An argument between her two sons had prompted the attack.  The eldest son had punched the younger son in the head and was confronted by his mother before he ran up stairs to his bedroom.

“He came out and called me horrible horrible names,” said Mary.  “I won’t repeat them.  He said, ‘What are you going to do about it?’

“I walked down the stairs again. He came down the stairs like a bull, jumped off the bottom step, grabbed my by the throat, up against the door. 

“He was just going to hit someone, no matter what you did or said he was just going to do it.”

Mary revealed that the guards have visited the family home every day because “after that incident every single day he’s threatening to kill me.  He told me I deserve to die.”

Mary described her son as being “like a rugby player.  He’s taller than I am and he’s very, very strong.”

She said the Gardai recommended she press charges against her son.

Psychologist David Coleman, who also appeared with Ryan Tubridy on 2FM, recommended she take their advice.

“If anyone needs a service it’s you and your family and even your son directly,” he said.

He added, “I also think you need to press those charges and try and get him in the system.

“He’s not going to like it and he may hold it against you but to be honest if he’s at a stage where he thinks he can (a) threaten to kill you and (b) actually attacks you physically and chokes you and holds you and hits you, that’s not going to stop.”

He said she was in “real danger” and that her son needs to be in the system, “even if it’s the criminal justice system to start, at least then they may be able to divert him from that into other therapeutic services.”

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