A childminder seemed to be “biting” the face of an 18-month-old child when a postal worker called in a rural area outside Killarney, a court was told.
There were “terrible screams” from the hallway of the house, the court heard.
The childminder, aged 38, appeared before Killarney District Court yesterday where she pleaded guilty under Section 246 (1) and (2) of the Children Act, 2001 that she wilfully assaulted a child in her care.
Judge James O’Connor ordered the press not to publish matters which identified the child.
Sgt Kieran O’Donnell said the accused had been minding the child for over a year. At 12pm on May 12, “a post lady doing her rounds” called to the house and on approaching the door she heard “terrible screams“ from the hall, the sergeant said.
The postal worker looked through a glass panel and observed the childminder with the child in her arms pinned against the wall.
“She had her face up against the child’s face as if she was biting the child’s face,” the sergeant said.
The postal worker banged on the door and the minder came to the door with the child in her arms. The child was “hysterical” and the minder told the postal worker she could not get the child to stop crying.
The postal worker rang the child’s mother, who came home and took the child to the doctor.
The DPP had recommended summary disposal, Sgt O’Donnell said. Judge O’Connor asked if the incident had been a ”once-off”.
“As far as the State knows,” the sergeant said.
Medical reports found the child’s face bruised, and no facial bite marks. The bruising healed in two to three weeks, Sgt O’Connell said.
Solicitor Padraig O’Connell said the woman had children of her own and there were no issues with her care of them. There was full admission and co-operation and full apology.
“The crying of the child just got inside her head and she can’t explain what happened. She just lost it. It was a once-off,” Mr O’Connell said.
The judge ordered €5,000 be lodged in court for the benefit of the child, to be invested until it was 18. Another €1,000 is to be paid for the benefit of the mother of the child. The judge adjourned the matter remanding the childminder on continuing bail to December 5.