Mother who exposed daughter (5) to litany of abuse gets 14 years
A MOTHER who subjected her five-year-old daughter to a shocking litany of repeated sexual abuse and neglect in the family home has been handed a 14-year jail sentence.
Judge Tony Hunt described the mother's actions as a "grave dereliction of duty", and said she was guilty on the highest scale of neglect and abuse of children.
The 47-year-old mother, who comes from the west of Ireland, cannot be named to protect the identity of her child.
The offences took place at the family home between 2004 and 2008.
It emerged at Roscommon Circuit Court during the trial that the mother did not intervene while the little girl was led around in a dog lead by a neighbour before being raped.
The court heard previously that the woman gave the neighbour permission to do as he wished with her daughter and for as long as he liked.
The child was subjected to shocking sexual abuse by her mother as well as by the neighbour from the age of five.
Judge Hunt sentenced the mother to 14 years in prison, with concurrent seven-year and five-year sentences respectively for sexually assaulting and ill-treating the young girl.
The court sitting in Longford yesterday heard that her father had pleaded guilty to charges of sexually assaulting his daughter and will be sentenced this year.
The neighbour was given an eight-year sentence last year after pleading guilty to raping the child.
That sentence is currently under appeal by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
The mother admitted a total of 12 charges, including sexual assault, wilful neglect or ill treatment, as well as using her daughter for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
The offences came to light after the girl was taken into care with her two siblings in 2008. In statements from social workers and the victim, it emerged that the child often went without food and was unable to use utensils or brush her hair when taken into care at the age of nine.
Her first foster family became concerned at what they called her sexualised behaviour.
The foster family was unable to cope and the child was moved to another foster home.
Here, she struggled to eat. She spoke of several evenings when there was no food in her original family home. In her foster home she ate eight Weetabix to satisfy her hunger, but was unable to clean herself.
The child was later found to have bruises and was discovered to be self-harming by biting herself.
The male neighbour used to babysit the girl and her siblings twice or three times a week at her original family home and began abusing her.
The girl later revealed that the neighbour, whom her mother had been having an on-off affair with, had told her mother about what he was doing to her and the mother said that it was fine by her. It was made clear that the mother was in the home at the time the abuse was taking place.
Judge Hunt said: "Suffice it to say that it was wilful neglect and active abuse of the most grave variety.
"I have never personally come across anything equal to the neglect in this case", the judge said.
Referring to the mother, the judge added: "She was callously indifferent to the fate of her child and acted positively in a hostile way that was inimical to her children."