Father punched in the face by childminder

A babysitter has been convicted of assaulting her employer’s partner while she was minding his children.

Mary Devereux, aged 42, pleaded guilty to assaulting Kevin O’Keeffe on Main St, Castleconnell, Co Limerick, on March 4, 2015.

Devereux, of Scanlon Park, Castleconnell, was caught on CCTV attacking Mr O’Keeffe.

Mr O’Keeffe said he was crouching down to give a kiss to one of his two sons — both of whom were in the care of Devereux — when she punched him a number of times in the face and kicked him.

The entire assault, which was captured on security cameras from a nearby shop, was shown in court.

Devereux told the court she assaulted Mr O’Keeffe because he had verbally abused her a number of times when she was minding his children: “He was frothing from the mouth and throwing abuse at me. Every time I had those kids with me in the village, Mr O’Keeffe would go out of his way to throw abuse at me.”

“I tried waking away when I saw him. I told the children not to look. I assaulted Mr O’Keeffe because I was sick to death of the abuse,” she admitted in the court.

Mr O’Keeffe denied abusing Devereux.

The defendant told the court: “I do regret it. I’m very sorry. I have some remorse for the man.” She agreed with Sergeant Donal Cronin, prosecuting, that she made a “very bad judgement call” on the day of the assault.

“There was a history between us,” she said adding, “every time he saw me with his kids he would not leave me alone”.

Sergeant Cronin said Mr O’Keeffe was “badly shaken up by this incident” but that he did not want to see Devereux jailed.

The court heard Devereux had previous convictions for assault and public order in which she was sentenced to three months in jail in March 2007. She no longer minds Mr O’Keeffe’s children.

“She has lost a lot. She’s now out of the children’s lives. She has suffered a lot. She is a carer for her brother who has severe mental disabilities. She apologises for her behaviour,” Devereux’s solicitor said.

Judge Marian O’Leary found the defendant guilty and bound her to the peace on her own bond of €300.

She said: “It’s absolutely disgraceful what these children went through.”


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