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locked up Father who dangled his three-month-old daughter upside down over river jailed

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A JUDGE has jailed a man after he dangled his three-month-old daughter upside down by one leg over a river.

At Ennis Circuit Court, Judge Brian O'Callaghan imposed a combined five-and-a-half-year term on the 29-year-old man after he pleaded guilty to endangering and threatening to kill his daughter and to assault causing harm to the baby's mother last April.

"I thought he was going to kill her," the baby's 19-year-old mother said in a victim impact statement.

Judge O'Callaghan described one of the assaults on the mother as a "vicious and barbaric punishment beating".

The man had used a stick to strike 20 blows to the back of the woman's legs.

The "premeditated assault" on the woman happened the day before a three-and-a-half-hour tense standoff with gardaí in Ennis, Co Clare, where the man dangled the baby over a river last April 11.

During that time, the man ran away from gardaí to the River Fergus and mounted a wall overlooking the river at Wood Quay and dangled the baby upside down by one leg over the water.

Garda Barry Comber told the court the situation at the wall lasted 12 minutes and that paramedics, gardaí and members of the fire service arrived at the scene "in anticipation of the worst".

Earlier, the man had carried the baby through the town followed by gardaí and paramedics and told gardai: "We're going to die tonight."

At 2am, a member of the Garda Armed Response Unit tasered the man in the back of an ambulance as ARU members rescued the baby.

The child was uninjured from the incident and Judge O'Callaghan praised the infant's "resilience" in court.

The stand-off happened after the baby's mother sought help from gardaí after she was assaulted by her then partner.

The man had 51 previous convictions, with road traffic and public order offences accounting for 43 of them.

Judge O'Callaghan imposed a four-year jail term for the endangerment and threatening to kill his baby and three years for the assaults on the woman to run consecutively, with the final 18 months suspended.

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