A knife-wielding mother “soaked” her young son in boiling water and wrongly jailed a social worker, the court said

A knife-wielding mother “soaked” her young son in boiling water and said “I want to kill my children and myself” while falsely jailing a social worker, the Central Criminal Court heard today.

The court also heard a victim-impact testimony from the social worker during today’s sentencing hearing, in which she said she was kept awake at night by “vivid images” of the 18-month-old victim’s skin, which differed from his “raw and pink” skin peels off. face and his shrill screams.

The social worker had bolted a door to try to prevent the mother from approaching the children and later stood between the mother and her two boys before leading them to safety, the court also heard.

The defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was originally charged at her home on October 9, 2019 with two counts of attempted murder of her two sons, who were then 18 months old. She failed in an attempt to have the attempted murder charge dropped against her last year.

Last month the defendant pleaded guilty in the Central Criminal Court to intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to one of the two children on the same day. She further pleaded guilty to manufacturing a “large kitchen knife” in a manner likely used to unlawfully intimidate another person on the same occasion.

She also admitted to falsely detaining a female social worker on the same day and in the same place.

At the beginning of today’s sentencing hearing, District Attorney Sean Guerin SC told Judge David Keane that the indictment contained five counts. He added that the first two charges were attempted murder of the defendant’s twin sons. Mr. Guerin said that at the end of the sentencing process, a nolle prosequi will be made on those two charges.

Mr Guerin said the remaining three charges were plead guilty in June and were acceptable to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on a full factual basis.

Outlining the events leading up to the incident, Mr Guerin said a social worker was supervising the two boys, who were in foster care at the time, at the defendant’s home on October 9.

Garda Aisling Carroll told Mr Guerin that the social worker arrived at the defendant’s address at 9.15am, where she met the 18-month-old twins, who had been in foster care since birth.

Mr Guerin said access arrangements had recently changed and the accused mother was given supervised access to the boys in her home for four hours once a week.

At around 10:30 a.m., one of the boys was in the living room with the social worker and the other boy was in the kitchen with the suspect.

Sensing that something was wrong, the social worker went into the kitchen and found the accused in the hallway. The boy stood in front of the kitchen door soaking wet and looked shocked.

Knowing something was wrong, the social worker picked the boy up and felt that he was “red hot.” The accused had a long carving knife in his hand and said: “I want to kill my children.”

When the social worker called emergency services, the defendant attempted to force her way into the living room as the boys became hysterical.

At this point, the social worker could see blisters forming on the boy’s face and realized that boiling water had been poured over the child.

Mr Guerin said the defendant then forced open the living room door, held the knife to her chest and said twice, “I want to kill my children and myself.”

The social worker tried to take the knife from the defendant, but she wouldn’t let go.

When the accused entered the room with the knife, the social worker placed herself and the couch between the accused and the boys. The phone line to emergency services was open at the time and the call is said to have lasted 15 minutes.

The boy who was doused with the kettle was crying hysterically and his face was sore and pink, the court heard.

The defendant looked at her son and said, “I want to kill my children, I want to kill myself and why did I do this to my children?”

The social worker managed to distract the accused long enough to unlock the door and get herself and the two children out of the house.

When Gardaí arrived, the accused stood in front of her house, knife in hand, and said several times: “I tried to kill my babies, I wanted to kill myself.”

The accused was later admitted to psychiatric treatment at Tallaght Hospital, where she remained for a week.

She later told gardaí in interviews that she had a mental problem, that she hadn’t taken her medication and that her mood was very bad.

The boy was taken to Our Lady Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin, where he was treated by a plastic surgeon. Around 18 percent of his total body surface is covered with permanent scars and he stayed in the hospital for almost a month.

Mr Guerin said the child’s burns were deep, he had significant disfiguring scars on his face and it was not possible to say until his late teens if he would need further surgery.

The accused, mother of five children, has lived in Ireland for 16 years and is originally from Congo, the Garda said. She had custody of her three older children, but her twin sons had been placed in foster care shortly after their birth.

The court heard the woman had no criminal record but had been jailed under the Mental Health Act 2004 on several occasions.

In her victim statement, the twins’ foster mother said October 9 was a day they will never forget. She said her husband dropped the boys off at their birth mother’s house, saying they were clingy and scared and didn’t want to leave.

“He left the kids with the social worker not knowing what was going to happen. To this day my husband feels so guilty. I got a call that there was a boiling water incident,” she added.

She said the boy’s brother no longer recognized him as his twin and it was like he was a “stranger to him, like he was afraid of him”.

In a second statement on the impact of the victim, the social worker said her life had changed significantly since that day and she could not return to her work. She said she suffers from flashbacks, insomnia and PTSD.

Under cross-examination, the Garda agreed with defense attorney Anne Rowland SC that her client spent much of the twins’ first two years of life in a psychiatric hospital and that she had not taken her antipsychotic medication for three days prior to the incident.

Ms Rowland said her client wanted to express her sincere apologies and remorse to the social worker, her own child and the foster parents. “She is incredibly grateful that he is lucky enough to have this couple who are so kind and caring towards him and his brother,” she added.

For mitigation, Ms Rowland said the defense of insanity was unavailable to the defendant because of her high threshold, but asked the court to pay particular attention to her client’s psychiatric history. She said the defendant suffered from a combination of acute depressive symptoms and mild intellectual disability.

Another mitigating factor is that she has been hospitalized eight times since giving birth to her children in 2018.

Judge Keane has remanded the woman until October 6 if she is convicted.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/knife-wielding-mother-drenched-infant-son-in-boiling-water-and-falsely-imprisoned-social-worker-court-hears-41875185.html A knife-wielding mother “soaked” her young son in boiling water and wrongly jailed a social worker, the court said

Fry Electronics Team

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