Woman facing neglect charges went drinking and stole purse

A woman facing jail for the drunken neglect of her children went back on the drink on Christmas Eve and stole a purse — and yesterday she was remanded in custody for a month pending the sentencing for neglect.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said there was no way he was remanding the accused on continuing bail because of the Christmas incident.

Sinéad Behan, defence barrister, said of the 31-year-old Corkwoman at Cork Circuit Criminal Court: “She had a slip before Christmas. There was the influence of someone else over her. She is back in a good place again. She is a vulnerable lady.”

The judge complained that he has a plethora of reports on the accused but that none refer to whatever happened at Christmas. Sgt John Sharkey said that the accused was intoxicated and stole a purse from a premises at Tuckey St on Christmas Eve.

The woman, who has six children, faced sentencing yesterday for child neglect. Sentencing had been adjourned in October to yesterday to see how she would progress.

The judge said that, with all the help, support, and attention attending to the accused she still committed this crime, which was worrying. The judge said it was not a slip, it was criminal behaviour.

The background to the case was that Tommy Roche, a traffic warden in Youghal, notified gardaí when he saw a woman slumped unconscious over the wheel of her parked car with three very young children inside.

Garda Brian Nodwell arrived and called an ambulance to first have the children medically examined, and then the mother checked at lunchtime on July 1, 2014.

“Two boys were running around in the car, with no shoes or socks and no tops, they looked dirty,” said Garda Nodwell.

“In the back on the floor rolled up in a little ball was a baby girl. I took her from the floor to make sure she was alive.”

The children were found to be reasonably healthy and the mother was unconscious with drink. She was arrested.

On the night before this, she had been drinking with two men. Prosecution barrister, Donal McCarthy, said there was some element of those two men taking advantage of her on the night.

Ms Behan said the accused had five children with her first husband, who is now gone, and a sixth with another man.

Ms Behan said the woman was married at 17 and had five children and had endured a lot of domestic violence. The barrister said the woman had other difficulties in her life and an escalating drink problem.

However, she said that, since this occurred almost two years ago, she had done a lot to address her problems and stabilise her life.

The judge previously warned the woman that she should not go ahead with plans to remarry in light of her chaotic circumstances.

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