Mother found guilty on 29 counts of cruelty to her children in west of Ireland

The woman faced over 40 charges of cruelty and neglect

A woman has been found guilty on 29 counts of neglect and cruelty to her children in the west of Ireland between 2006 and 2011.

They came back with the verdicts after deliberating for just over three and a half hours.

The jurors emerged from the belly of the courthouse at 3.15 and the foreman answered guilty to 29 of the charges put to him. He replied not guilty to the remaining 13.

The claims of neglect and cruelty related to seven of the woman’s children – five of whom gave evidence through a live video link.

The court heard claims of children being beaten with wooden spoons, belts and a back scratcher.

Two of her sons recalled an incident where they had to jump out of the way after she drove her car at them. They claimed they’d been told to get out moments beforehand after spilling ice-cream in the back seat.

The woman admitted pouring fairy liquid down some of their throats and slapping her children from time to time to discipline them, but denied using excessive force and relied on the defence of “reasonable chastisement”.

Her eldest daughter came into court in tears after the verdicts were delivered.

Her mother will be sentenced in April.

Judge Karen O’Connor thanked the jurors for sitting through such a “difficult trial” before exempting them from jury duty for five years.

After deliberating for two hours yesterday, the jurors returned with a handwritten note that to ask if they could listen back to the evidence of two of the woman’s daughters and a plastic surgeon.

It was decided to break for the night and the trial resumed this morning with the recording of her eldest daughter’s evidence.

She described being taken into care in May 2011 and called her mother abusive. When asked what she meant by that, she said she used to beat them with belts, back scratchers and bamboo sticks.

She recalled one occasion when her mother returned from a concert to hear she’d used a bad word. She claimed she dragged her into the kitchen by her hair, and grabbed her by the throat before trying to drown her in the sink.

She said she started self-harming when she became aware that all was not right at home. She said she was 13 when her mother found out, and claims she cut her while showing her how to do it properly.

Seven of her siblings also made allegations of cruelty and neglect against their mother, but the jurors were told to return verdicts of not guilty in relation to one of the girls.

 

After hearing the testimony of the eldest daughter, the jurors decided they no longer needed to listen to her sister’s evidence and returned to the jury room after hearing the recording of the plastic surgeon who spoke about scars on two of the bodies of two of her children.