Thursday 18 July 2019

'House of Horrors' mother released from jail after five years

Woman left through side gate at Mountjoy to avoid waiting media

Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

The mother at the centre of the notorious Roscommon ‘house of horrors’ case has been released from prison today through a side gate to avoid waiting media.

The 45-year old, who described herself as the ‘worst mother in the world’ walked free from the Dochas Women’s Centre at Mountjoy Prison just before 10.30am.

The woman, who was assaulted a number of times in prison by other inmates, was jailed in January 2009 for the maximum term of seven years for her horrific crimes of incest, other sexual abuse, neglect and wilful ill-treatment of her six children at the home in Co Roscommon. The house was dubbed the House of Horrors.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had a quarter of her sentence reduced for good behaviour. She had described herself as the worst mother in the world as details of her criminal abuse and neglect of the children emerged in court.

They were not fed properly, their clothes were not washed and the range which heated the home was only lit once a month. There were dead rats and mice inside and outside the council-owned house.

Their mother, who suffered from depression and asthma and had a drinking problem, would routinely go to a pub at around 6pm, leaving the children alone, returning home drunk in the early hours of the morning.

In an interview with gardai in 2006, the mother admitted that her children were often blue with the cold, only had dinner twice a week and had lice crawling around their heads and bodies.

She pleaded guilty to ten charges including forcing her son to have sex with her.

“It was a house of horrors... with bells on,” she said.

When gardaí arrested her, she admitted the offences and said she was sorry for what had happened.

“My kids were sexually abused, not washed and not fed - I am the worst mother in the world and I don't deserve to get my children back”, she said.

The woman, who was 40 at the time, became the first female in the history of the State to be convicted for incest.

At her sentencing hearing the late Judge Miriam Reynolds suggested that new laws may be needed to deal with incest cases involving mothers.

Roscommon Deputy Denis Naughten has now tabled new legislation, which was accepted by the government last month, to increase the sentence for incest by a female from seven years to life and bring it into line with the penalty for incest by a male.

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