Two boys have told a jury their mother made them swallow washing-up liquid, while one claimed she pushed him down the stairs twice and then lied to hospital staff about his injuries.
The 39-year-old mother, who cannot be named in order to protect the identity of eight of her children, has pleaded not guilty at her trial before Galway Circuit Criminal Court to 44 charges of child cruelty on dates between September 1, 2006, and May 12, 2011.
All eight children were taken into care in May 2011 and have been with different forster parents ever since.
When asked by Paul Flannery, defending, if she ever missed her mother, the woman’s second eldest daughter, now aged 16, replied: “Yes and no. I miss her but I can’t forgive her for the stuff she has done. It has taken its toll on me and on my brothers and sisters and it’s time to leave it go now.
“The last time I saw my mother, she was going out the door for a night out. I said to her: ‘Love you, mum.’ That was it.”
Three of the woman’s sons, now aged 15, 13, and 10, gave evidence by video link yesterday. A taped Garda interview of the eldest boy, which was recorded in April, 2012, was shown to the jury.
In it, he told the jury his mother had pushed him down the stairs on two occasions. He thought he was eight or nine at the time.
On the second occasion, the boy said he was three steps from the top when she pushed him. He hurt his wrist on the occasion. His wrist was swollen by the next morning and his mother’s partner took him to the emergency department.
“She told her partner to tell the doctors my sister caused the injury,” he said. “I didn’t say anything. If I had said it was her, I would have got it when I would go home.”
The boy also said his mother once sent him and his younger brother to steal perfume for her in a nearby shopping centre.
His 10-year-old brother started to cry when he recalled how his mother would make him and some of his siblings line up and then slap them.
She would get them to open their mouths and choke them if they refused. She would then pour washing up liquid down their throats and make them swallow it, he said.
“She would hit you too in the back, the legs or the stomach. I haven’t seen her in two years,” the boy said.
He agreed with his older brother that their mother had tried to run them over with the car and that she regularly beat them with a wodden back scratcher.
The boys’ 10-year-old sister told the jury by video link she did not know where her mother lived now. She said she remembered seeing her mother choking her eldest sister and hitting the boys with the back scratcher and with wooden spoons.
She also saw her pour washing up liquid down the boys’ throats.
“I was standing in the hall and I saw it in the kitchen,” she said.
Mr Flannery told the children their mother would be giving evidence in due course denying the allegations.
The trial continues next week.
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