A mother of five has been convicted of child cruelty following a seven-week trial which heard dozens of allegations of horrific sexual abuse against her youngest son.
The 38-year-old woman, who is from the UK, has already been found not guilty of sexual assault relating to allegations she had sex or simulated sex with her child when he was between six and seven.
On Friday, the jury convicted the woman’s 64-year-old partner, also from the UK, of nine counts of raping his son from the age of six years old and child cruelty. They acquitted him of raping the child with a poker.
The child gave evidence that it was his father who raped and beat him and locked him in a box for six hours. The charge of cruelty which the woman was convicted of was a general charge of allowing the abuse to happen at the hands of her partner.
The boy’s father faced nine counts of raping the boy, nine counts of raping the boy with a poker and one count of cruelty.
The mother faced two counts of sexual assault relating to allegations she had sex with the boy and one count of cruelty.
Both parents had pleaded not guilty to the allegations which are alleged to have occurred between 2009 and 2011 in their Waterford home. The parents had originally faced a total of 82 charges but 60 of these were withdrawn last week following legal argument.
After the jury delivered its final verdict, Mr Justice Robert Eagar indicated he intended to grant the woman bail until sentencing. However gardaí “strongly” objected, saying the woman was a flight risk.
Her partner was remanded in custody on Friday after his conviction. He will be sentenced on July 11. Prosecuting counsel Pauline Walley SC said the woman’s partner was her only tie to Ireland and now that he has been jailed gardaí believe she may flee.
A Waterford garda told the court the woman has four other children who are in care and who she has no contact with. Most of the rest of her family, including her mother, live in the UK.
The family home where the abuse occurred has since been sold and the woman lives in rented accommodation in another county.
The garda said she has no means to support herself in Ireland. Her partner had been receiving social welfare but payments stopped before the trial.
In support of bail, the woman’s defence counsel said she has surrendered her passport to gardaí and her partner is willing to keep paying her rent from custody.
Mr Justice Eagar said in light of the garda objections he would remand the woman in custody. She will be sentenced separately from her partner on July 4.
The child had told gardaí that his mother willingly “had sex” with him while his father watched and filmed it. However during evidence at trial he said his mother had been forced to have sex with him by the father and she complied because he threatened to kick her out of the house if she didn’t.
The boy told the jury he loved his mother and that she was a nice woman. He said that when he told her he had been raped by his father she gave out to the man.
After the child was taken into care just before his eighth birthday his mother continued to have access visits with him. These visits ceased when the child was sent to the UK to receive specialised residential care because of his sexualised behaviour.
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