The child was described as being “chirpy” and hungry but was not injured after being examined by medics
The father of three said that just minutes before he was arrested by armed gardaí he woke up in his car, parked in a field with the unharmed toddler, thinking what trouble he had caused.
The incident came after days of tension between him and his partner, according evidence heard at Wexford Criminal Court today.
The man, then in his late 20s, has since become a positive father figure to the family even though he and his partner separated and takes an active part in their lives.
In her victim impact statement the woman, who suffered a fractured wrist during the terrifying incident, said the worst part of the night was not knowing where her son had been taken.
While she knew the father wouldn’t harm the child, she feared because of his intoxicated state he could crash the car.
But she also described the incident a turning point and how the man had made “huge changes” and everything was now moving in the right direction for family.
She said that drugs and alcohol were no longer an issue in the house.
Her teenage sister also suffered a concussion during the incident when she was pushed over by the man as she attempted to stop him putting the child in the car.
He had minutes earlier grabbed his partner by the throat and pushed her to the ground before going to the child’s bedroom.
A garda gave evidence how the car was eventually discovered five hours later just six kilometres away near another relative’s house.
Two officers searching for the vehicle had drawn the weapons and arrested the man before discovering the child unharmed in a duvet on the back seat.
The child was described as being “chirpy” and hungry but was not injured after being examined by medics.
The man was fully co-operative with the investigating gardaí and interviews expressed his regret and accepted responsibility for his actions.
The man pleaded guilty to two counts of assault and one of wilful neglect of child.
Judge Cormac Quinn said while the mitigation in favour of the man was “at the highest level” it wasn’t “exceptional” that would allow for a fully suspended sentence.
The man had 28 previous convictions including a number for assault and robbery and had previously been imprisoned.
He imposed a total of two and a half years with the final year-and-a-half suspended for 18 months.