'off his head' | 

Drunk dad assaulted son (12) as he tried to stop him beating his pregnant mother

His father dragged him out of the room and threw him against a metal bed frame

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Sonya McLean

A man who threw his son against a metal bed frame when the young boy tried to stop his father attacking his pregnant mother has been remanded in custody pending sentence.

The court heard that the children of the house called the gardaí to alert them to the fact that their father was assaulting their mother. When officers arrived, they found a young infant lying in her cot crying.

Baby’s clothes were covered in her mother’s blood and the woman was lying in an unconscious state nearby.

A local garda told Aideen Collard BL, prosecuting, that she was directed to an upstairs bedroom by a 15-year-old girl, the oldest child in the house.

When the officer walked into the room, the man was kneeling over the woman, with his hands just below her neck near her collar bone. She demanded that he move away from the woman and he did so.

She then went to the baby in the cot and confirmed that she was unharmed. The woman was five months pregnant at the time and drifting in and out of consciousness. There were pools of blood on the floor and she was bleeding heavily from her head.

The garda said the three other children, an 11-year-old, a 12-year-old and the 15-year-old girl were huddled together in a distressed state in another bedroom.

The 12-year-old boy had bruising to his shoulders and a cut on his face. He told gardaí that he had woken up to his parents fighting.

“I tried to save my mam,” he said, but his father dragged him out of the room and threw him against a metal bed frame. The boy then got upset and started crying.

The woman later told gardaí that the man hit her hard in the head and she was afraid he was going to kill her in front of the baby.

“I saw hate in his eyes. I thought I was going to die. I was trying to stay awake because I was afraid I was going to lose the baby,” the woman said referring to the fact that she was pregnant with her fifth child.

The man was taken into custody that night. The woman was brought to hospital and the four children taken into State care. The children were returned to their mother when she was released from hospital the following day.

The 32-year-old man, who cannot be identified to protect the identity of his son, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting his partner causing her harm and to assaulting his son at their family home in Dublin on November 29, 2020. He has no previous convictions.

Judge Melanie Greally adjourned the case to October 14, 2022, and ordered the preparation of a report from the Probation Service for that date to allow for a spousal assault risk.

The judge acknowledged that the man’s partner had not prepared a victim impact statement and was still in a relationship with the man. She accepted that the woman wanted her partner to be released from prison and to get help in the community but said she could not remand the man on bail.

Judge Greally told the woman that she and her partner had to face the reality that he would be going to prison for doing what he did that night.

The woman replied that her children were expecting their father to get out of jail and “were excited to see their daddy”.

Judge Greally told the woman that her partner’s behaviour was impacting on both her and her children and there is “no question that he will be serving time for these assaults”.

The woman was treated in hospital for her loss of consciousness, the injuries to her head and scans were taken of the baby to ensure everything was alright with the pregnancy. She was released from hospital the following day, returned home, cleaned up the blood and her children were returned to her.

The man later claimed that they had a row that night and during the course of the row the woman had fallen and hit her head. He said he was “off his head” and his “mind went blank”. He had no recollection of the night but he had blood splatters on his clothing and had cuts to his hands, knuckles and face.

The woman later told gardaí that they had been in a relationship for 14 years and had had their difficulties. The man had a problem with drink. She said they had both been drinking that night with friends and when the friend left, she cleaned up and said she was going to bed.

She said the man began screaming and shouting at her and pulled her by her hair as she was going into her bedroom to get ready for bed. She said her son came charging in at his father with a stick and she stood between them in an attempt to protect her son.

She said the child fell against the metal bed and she called for her older daughter to get the baby from the cot and call the gardaí.

The garda accepted a suggestion from Sarah Jane O’Callaghan BL, defending, that the man claimed that when she walked into the room, he had his hands on his partner’s shoulders in an attempt to wake her because he panicked when she lost consciousness.

The garda said she couldn’t confirm that was what he was doing but again re-iterated where his hands were while he was kneeling over the woman and she again confirmed that he walked away from her when ordered to do so.

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