Mother found guilty on 29 counts of neglect and cruelty to her children

Mother found guilty on 29 counts of neglect and cruelty to her children

A woman has been found guilty of 29 counts of neglect and cruelty to her children in the west of Ireland between 2006 and 2011.

The jury found her not guilty on the remaining 13 charges after deliberating for over three and a half hours at Galway Circuit Criminal Court.

During a nine-day trial, six of her children gave evidence of being beaten, abandoned and left in the care of strangers.

Judge Karen O’Connor thanked the jurors for sitting through such a "difficult" trial before exempting them from jury duty for five years.

The allegations levelled against the woman ranged from beatings with wooden spoons and belts to leaving the children for days at a time and washing their mouths out with washing-up liquid.

Two of her sons claimed they had to jump out of the way of her car one day after she threw them out for spilling ice-cream in the back seat.

She was found guilty of driving her car at two of her sons after they spilled ice-cream on the back seat. The jurors also convicted her of pushing one of her boy’s down the stairs. He said she laughed at him when he banged his head off a door.

Among the charges she was acquitted of was an allegation she showed her daughter how to self-harm properly.

The alleged offences happened over a five-year period that led to the children being taken into care in May 2011.

After deliberating for two hours yesterday, the jurors spent most of this morning listening back to the evidence of the woman’s eldest daughter who claims her mother tried to drown her in the kitchen sink after she used a "bad word".

The evidence of a plastic surgeon who treated her and one of her brothers was also played before the 12 men and women went back to the jury room.

The claims of neglect and cruelty related to seven of the woman’s children – five of whom gave evidence through a live video link.

The court heard claims of children being beaten with wooden spoons, belts and a back scratcher.

The woman admitted pouring fairy liquid down some of their throats and slapping her children from time to time to discipline them, but denied using excessive force and relied on the defence of “reasonable chastisement”.

Her eldest daughter came into court in tears after the verdicts were delivered.

The woman will be sentenced in April.


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