Worst case of neglect I ever saw

A woman has received a four-year suspended sentence for what a detective described as the worst case of child neglect he has ever seen in his 13-year career.

Det Garda Paul Carney said he and social workers found the 42-year-old woman’s three children on a urine-soaked mattress in a bedroom in her “filthy” house. He said the children, then aged two, four, and eight, had soiled themselves and appeared lethargic despite it being a summer’s day outside.

The detective found milk powder that had gone off four months previously and no fresh food in the house.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the wilful neglect of the three children at her Kildare home on August 8, 2012.

She also pleaded guilty to assaulting her eight-year-old daughter at the same address on February 26, 2012.

A foster mother who took the children into her care said it took four days to get the two-year-old into a bath as he was distressed, having never bathed before.

The four-year-old communicated only by screaming, had never eaten solid foods, and had not been toilet-trained. The eight-year-old told the foster carer that her mother had made her watch porn to show her how to have sex, and made her brothers watch videos of animal slaughter.

Det Gda Carney told Daniel Boland BL, prosecuting, that he started monitoring the family after the eight-year-old arrived at school with a black eye. The girl told one teacher her brother had caused it and told another that she had been bitten by a spider.

The mother later claimed the children “always play rough”.

Det Gda Carney said he called randomly to the house between February and August and, in that time, he noticed living conditions and the mother’s behaviour deteriorating.

He said she co-operated during interview, but denied being a violent drunk.

She accepted she had a “small stick” at home, but claimed she only had it to “frighten the boys”.

Det Gda Carney agreed with Damien Colgan SC, defending, that the situation at home had improved but he was still concerned about her alcohol consumption.

Judge Patrick McCartan commented that the woman’s behaviour deserved imprisonment.

He ordered the woman to abstain from alcohol completely and to remain under Probation Service supervision for two years.

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