Sunday 18 March 2018

Mother allegedly poured washing up liquid down children's throats and held daughter's head underwater as punishment, court hears

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Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

A WOMAN has appeared in court charged with cruelty and neglect of her eight children after it was alleged she assaulted them physically, poured washing-up liquid down their throats and held her daughter’s head underwater as punishment for saying a vulgar word.

The woman, who cannot be named to protect the identity of her children, faces 44 charges of child cruelty or neglect against eight of her children, who ranged in age from teenagers to young toddlers at the time. She denies all charges.

The charges relate to alleged abuses at five different addresses in the West over a five year period from 2006 to 2011.

At Galway Circuit Court today the jury heard evidence from the defendant’s oldest daughter who said the defendant “wasn’t a proper mother”.

She told how on one occasion she and her sister were found by gardai in a Church late at night while their mother was out drinking.

“Drinking always resulted in violence or she would go off for days and leave us on our own,” she said.

The young witness, who gave evidence via videolink, told how on one occasion her mother had punched her in the face for dyeing her hair.

The jury also heard how her mother had been off drinking for three days missing her 14th birthday. When the teenager questioned her mother about it upon her return, the defendant slapped her across the face saying ‘There’s your birthday present’. 

She claimed that in front of her younger siblings she was also dragged by the hair from the couch into the kitchen after she was overheard saying a vulgar word.

“She put me face first into the sink and proceeded to choke me while doing it. She proceeded to fill the sink with water to try and drown me, all over one word,” she said.

Shane Costello for the DPP said it was the State’s case that the incidents went well beyond parental discipline or reprimanding a child for bad behaviour and constituted nothing short of assault and neglect.

The jury was told it would hear evidence of children being beaten with implements, of being left alone or with adults who were not related to them and being left without food or the basic necessities of life.

He said evidence would be heard from the children involved, neighbours, the HSE, gardai and other professionals who had dealings with the family.

The case continues tomorrow.

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