| 18.4°C Dublin

Phoney Kids taken from beds after 'malicious’ hoax caller called 999 to make fake abuse claims

She received a suspended sentence after she admitted making ten 999 calls over the space of two hours

Close

Samantha Kennedy, from Enniskean, Co. Cork who made malicious phone calls to the gardai.

Samantha Kennedy, from Enniskean, Co. Cork who made malicious phone calls to the gardai.

Samantha Kennedy, from Enniskean, Co. Cork who made malicious phone calls to the gardai.

Meet the ‘malicious’ hoax caller who made a series of 999 calls pretending to be a young girl who was suffering from physical and sexual abuse.

Samantha Kennedy’s vile actions led to two autistic children being removed by gardai from their loving mother’s care and subjected to hospital tests to establish if they had been abused.

When contacted by the Sunday World this week, instead of apologising, the 31-year-old ranted at our reporter: “If you want to write about my story, I’ll sue you. Nobody is allowed to speak about it.

“Not myself, not Sabrina Benner [the children’s mother], if anybody speaks about it, I’ll sue them. I’ve been on to my solicitor already.”

But the Sunday World is today not only detailing Kennedy’s sick antics, we are printing an interview with the woman who had her children taken from her as a result of the Cork woman’s nasty crimes.

Last week, at Bantry District Court, Kennedy, of Main Street, Enniskean, Cork, received a suspended five-month sentence after she admitted making ten 999 calls over the space of two hours pretending to be the six-year-old daughter of her partner’s ex-girlfriend.

Close

Samantha Kennedy chats with Sunday World reporter Patrick O’Connell

Samantha Kennedy chats with Sunday World reporter Patrick O’Connell

Samantha Kennedy chats with Sunday World reporter Patrick O’Connell

The calls were made between 4.37am and 6.25am on February 14, 2020 and were patched through to Anglesea St Garda Station.

The calls claimed that the little girl and her sibling were suffering physical and sexual abuse.

The two children were actually living with their mother Sabrina Benner in Midleton.

Due to the nature of the calls, gardai invoked Section 12 powers and removed the children from devoted mum Ms Benner’s home.

They were brought to Cork University Hospital and examined and were found to have been unharmed.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Gardai then downloaded the 999 calls having determined that they were malicious and that in fact they had not been made by a child but by an adult “putting on a child’s voice.”

The investigation led to Kennedy, who, the court heard, was in a relationship at that time with the biological father of one of the children.

Speaking with the Sunday World this week, Sabrina Benner criticised the suspended sentence and said neither she nor her children have got over the ‘evil ordeal’ they were put through.

Close

Sabrina Benner who had her two children taken into care following malicious phone calls to the gardai.

Sabrina Benner who had her two children taken into care following malicious phone calls to the gardai.

Sabrina Benner who had her two children taken into care following malicious phone calls to the gardai.

“I honestly do feel that sentence is a right kick in the teeth,” Sabrina said.

“My two children who have autism were taken out of my house by gardai at 7.30 in the morning because of what she did.

“And I understand the gardai were doing their job, part of which is child protection,

“But my young daughter was being carried out my door that morning calling for me.

“My son, who is eight, said: ‘Mommy, the guards take away the bad guys. Why do the guards think you’re the bad guy?

“Honestly, I didn’t know how to answer that. “And I don’t think that — the effect that what she did had on my children — was looked at when that sentence was handed down.

“How do I feel about Samantha Kennedy now? I feel hatred and that’s not putting it too strong.

“I feel absolute and utter hatred for what she did to me and my two children!

“She went out of her way to maliciously hurt me … and to do it, she maliciously hurt my children … my son and daughter who she knows are autistic and have Meunke Syndrome.

“It’s evil, pure evil, to do that, honestly, you’d have to have no soul. She should have served time. You see people going to jail for not wearing a mask!

“Yet this one can waste the time of the guards, Tusla and the medical services while traumatising two children under the age of ten, and walk away.

“That’s just total and utter injustice.”

Recalling the traumatic events of February 14, Sabrina said she was woken by her phone ringing at 6.30am.

“At 6.30am, I got a phone call from Anglesea Street station saying the guards were at the door and to let them in. The operator said it was about my daughter and to go down and talk to the gardai.

“When I went down, the guards said they had gotten 999 calls from my daughter.

“I said that wasn’t possible because she was upstairs asleep and because of her condition, she wouldn’t have been able to speak on a 999 call or ring anyone.

“But the guard said no, she said, she’s been ringing. I went up and got my phone and showed them my call log to show she hadn’t made any phonecalls.

“I told them that was the only phone in the house. But they said: ‘Look, due to the nature of the calls, we are taking the children’.”

Sabrina said she rang her mother who came up to the house and travelled with the gardai and the children to the hospital.

“The kids were gone by 7.30am to the CUH [Cork University Hospital] and I was told to hang tight and that Tusla would be in contact with me. And that’s what I did.

“Honestly I don’t know where my mind was that morning. Everything went through my head. Do I need a solicitor? What do I do?

“I was absolutely and utterly heartbroken.

“My daughter went out that door crying for her mam… it was heartbreaking.”

The first phase in Sabrina’s horrific ordeal would be brought to a swift conclusion when hospital staff determined neither child had been subjected to any kind of physical or sexual abuse.

The second phase took longer in that it wasn’t until some weeks later that gardai determined Samantha Kennedy was the one behind the horrific hoax.

“I got the children back at 5.30pm that evening,” Sabrina recalled.

“My mum brought them back. I also got a phone call from Tusla saying they were satisfied the children wouldn’t have had the comprehension to make those phonecalls and the tests had come back showing they had not been harmed.

“They said they were satisfied I was not in any way a risk to my children.

“When my mum brought them back, I hugged the children and it was a long time before I let them go.”

Sabrina said it wasn’t until June 16 that she found out it was Samantha Kennedy who had made the calls.

“I went down to the station and they said they had caught her,” Sabrina told us.

“They said they brought her in on the June bank holiday weekend and they played the phonecalls to her one by one.

“On the eighth phone call, she finally admitted it was her. It was a great relief in a lot of ways knowing it was her.

“I hadn’t been able to leave the house in the intervening months without wondering who would do something like this.”

Asked whether Samantha Kennedy had ever apologised to her or the children, Sabrina responded: “No, and you’d think that the very least she would have done.

“She did say in court she wished she hadn’t done it and she would take it back if she could, but that’s not an apology in my book. As far as I’m concerned she should be doing time.”

Imposing the suspended sentence, Judge Colm Roberts said the offences “should merit a custodial sentence because of the seriousness and the cruelty of the actions.

“The idea of ringing gardai when they are extremely busy, and then pre-planned, speaking in a child’s voice,” the judge said. “You did it several times. That is pre-planned.”

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Privacy