herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Children kept in squalor did not know how to use toilets

A MUM has been convicted of the "huge" neglect of her five children which left them with severe and long-term difficulties.

The children, who ranged in age from two to nine, weren't even toilet trained when taken into care, a court heard.

It was also revealed they had inappropriate clothing and insufficient schooling.

The local sergeant who led the investigation told Isobel Kennedy, prosecuting, that after they were taken into care, one of the children ate incessantly until he vomited and none of them knew how to use a toilet, wash themselves or when to change their clothing.

The children were described as gulping down food and shoving their dinner into their mouths with their hands, while the youngest boy struggled to breathe while he ate.

All the foster parents reported that the children would defecate and urinate in inappropriate places, like a bucket, and the second oldest boy would stuff his underpants with tissue paper.

All the children were behind academically, though one of the foster parents described one of the boys as being very bright.

The children's 34-year-old mother, who cannot be named to protect the children's identity, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 10 counts of neglecting the children between May 2005 and September 2007.



Sexual

Her 44-year-old husband has already been convicted of neglect of children and sexual abuse and rape of a young girl by a Central Criminal Court jury.

He has also a further conviction of sexual assault of an eight-year-old girl from the UK.

One of the man's previous convictions included the abduction of the defendant in England when she was just 14. The couple later married days after her 18th birthday.

Judge Martin Nolan said the children had been neglected in a dreadful way and he could not imagine a worse situation.

He remanded the woman on bail until Thursday for sentence.

In September 2007, the children were put under the care of the Health Safety Executive. Officials noted her eight-year-old and four-year-old daughters wore only shirts and ankle socks while the mother was warmly dressed in a pink top with Playboy bunny cap.

The younger girl's underwear had not been changed since she last went to the toilet.

The woman's eldest son, then aged 11 years old, ate chips in the garda station that night while stuffing more into his pockets. His teeth were rotten because he used to eat from a stolen bag of sugar because he was so hungry. All the children were smelly and unwashed.

hnews@herald.ie

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