Sunday 20 October 2019

Mum 'flipped' and beat daughter (11) who challenged her over her drinking, court hears

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Stock picture
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

A SINGLE mother-of-five grabbed her 11-year-old daughter by the hair and flung her head against a kettle after the girl confronted her over her drinking, a court heard.

The girl had asked to smell her mum’s cup of cola because she suspected there was vodka in it and said the woman “flipped” and beat her.

She “boxed” and kicked the distraught girl, dragged her upstairs and threw her against a wall.

The victim told Dublin District Court she had been missing school and had to get up and feed and change her younger sisters because her mother was hungover in bed in the mornings after drinking sessions.

Judge John Hughes found the woman (34) guilty of assault and adjourned the case for a probation report.

She had denied the charge, insisting she was sober after getting treatment for alcohol abuse years ago and she and her daughter had only shouted at each other that night.

The court heard the assault happened at the family home in north Dublin in October 2017.

The girl said at the time her mother would start drinking at around 6pm and would “go mental”.

She drank nearly every night of the week and would sometimes have parties that went on all night while the children were in bed.

The girl recalled coming downstairs in the middle of the night to see her mother drinking and “just falling around and all”.

Some mornings her mother would still be “knocked out” in bed, would not wake the older children for school and the girl would have to mind “the kids” as young as two, giving them cereal and changing their nappies, she said.

There were bottles and cans on the “sticky” floor.

Her mother would wake up and ask, “Why are you not in school?” she said.

She told her children not to tell relatives about her drinking, saying: “If you tell, you will go into care.”

The victim said that on the night of the attack, her mother was in the sitting room watching TV and drinking cola and she saw her putting vodka in it from a bottle beside her.

When she asked, “Is that vodka you’re drinking?” her mother said it was only water, so the girl asked to smell it.

“She went mad. She said, ‘Get up to your bed’. She clattered me, she boxed me,” the victim said.

The girl went into the kitchen and her mother followed her, still drinking.

“She got me and flung me at the counter and my head hit the kettle,” the girl said.

She “wouldn’t stop hitting me” and was “boxing me in the back”, she said.

Her mother dragged her up the stairs to her bedroom, picked her up and threw her at the bed, but she hit the wall.

The girl was crying and had a headache and sore back afterwards.

In evidence, the accused said her daughter was being bullied in school and the girl responsible lived nearby.

She said they had argued on the night because her daughter wanted to go to live with another family member.

“We were shouting at each other back and forth. I never hit her, I never hit any of my kids, I never laid a hand on any of them,” she said.

She denied her children missed any school unless they were sick. Her daughter was lying, she said.

Gardai said the victim was “extremely vulnerable” and upset when interviewed.

Judge Hughes said she was an “intelligent young girl” who had been a credible witness.

The accused suffered depression and anxiety, her lawyer said.


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