Saturday 24 March 2018

Woman accidentally stabbed 18-month-old girl while attacking mother, court told

Sonya McLean and Aoife Nic Ardghail

A young woman who accidentally stabbed an 18 month old girl while she was attacking the child’s mother has had her sentence adjourned so she can get treatment for her drug issues.

Shauna Kinsella (20) of no fixed abode pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to three counts of assaulting the toddler and her parents in their Dublin home on February 2, 2012. She has no previous convictions.

The toddler, who was in her mother’s arms during the attack, was later treated for a 2cm cut to her cheek and an injury to her forehead. Her then 27- year- old mother sustained stab wounds to the abdomen, left chest, left arm and scalp.

The woman’s then 39- year-old partner had one stab injury to his lower chest wall. The family have all since physically recovered and the baby has not been left with a scar.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring had remanded Kinsella in custody last December but readmitted her to bail yesterday so she can take up a residential treatment programme in Cavan.

She will also have the chance to sit her Leaving Certificate in certain subjects as recommended by a Probation and Welfare report.

Judge Ring remanded Kinsella to reside at The Cavan Centre, Ballyjamesduff, for drug treatment Tuesday to Saturday and at a relative’s house at Whitehall, Dublin the other days.

The judge told Kinsella she was impressed with how she has engaged with the Probation Services and in furthering her education in prison so far.  

She ordered an updated Probation Service report for the next court date in July.

At an earlier hearing, Garda Eddie Clarke told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that Kinsella was in the family’s home that night after she had been invited back there through a mutual acquaintance.

The child’s parents had earlier spent almost four hours in a nearby pub with the toddler, before Kinsella, together with her sister and two other men, returned to the victims’ house to continue drinking.

Later that night the father went to bed and brought the toddler with him. A row then broke out between the Kinsella sisters and the baby’s mother when they claimed that the woman had punched Kinsella’s boyfriend while asking for a cigarette.

The two women started to attack the victim while the two men watched on. She tried to defend herself and then called for her partner to come down.

The man came downstairs with the toddler and handed her to her mother, while he tried to get the group to leave the house.

Gda Clarke said the woman was standing with her daughter in her arms when she felt something hit the top of her head and felt blood running down her face. She was then stabbed to the stomach.

The woman put her child back in her cot and only realised a short time later that the toddler had also been injured. The baby was later treated for a cut to her cheek and a bump to her forehead.

Kinsella was arrested the following day and made full admissions. She claimed the knife had been brought to the house by one of the other men.

She was very remorseful for hurting the baby in particular and said it had been accident. She admitted that she knew the woman was holding the child when she stabbed her.

Gda Clarke agreed with Ms Duffy that the State accepted she had been reckless rather than intentional in her assault on the toddler.

He accepted that she has been in care since she was nine years old, has spent time homeless, has mental health and self harm issues and significant substance and alcohol abuse problems.

Ms Duffy said her client’s mother died when she was nine years old and her father was an addict with several criminal convictions.

Fran Devlin, manager of a care taker hostel that has been assisting Kinsella, told Ms Duffy that she has a significant addiction to prescribed drugs.

Ms Duffy said her client doesn’t underestimate the seriousness of the offence but asked the court to accept that Kinsella is vulnerable and has struggled to try and deal with her many issues.

She said she fully accepts her behaviour on the night, and is both remorseful and horrified by what she did.

Irish Independent

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