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Teenager attacked social care worker who was driving car, tearing out clumps of hair

The teen lunged at the social care worker as they were driving a car.

Image: Shutterstock/Peter Gudella

A TEENAGER TOLD gardaí that she wanted to murder a social care worker and appeared annoyed when her assault on the worker didn’t lead to that outcome.

In the aftermath of the assault on 2 May last year on the way back from a court appearance, the 17-year-old told gardaí that it was “music to her ears to hear [the social care worker] scream and cry while asking her to stop”.

During the assault, the teenager was sitting in the back of the car and lunged without warning at the social care worker who was driving.

The girl dug her nails into the social care worker’s eyes, tearing her eyelids.

The social care worker – who was accompanied in the car by a colleague – stopped the car and the teenager repeated: “I am going to kill you”.

Hospitalisation

The teenager tore clumps of hair from the head of the social care worker and wrapped her legs around the victim’s head and chest, refusing to let go, and bit the care worker on the hand, continuing to pull at her hair and scrape her face.

The social care worker required hospitalisation and at the garda station, the teenage girl – in State care since she was a child – told gardaí that she had a list of staff she wanted to assault for various reasons.

The girl was sentenced to five months in detention for the 1 May assault last year.

The details of the assault are included in a written judgement by the Court of Appeal where it has upheld a High Court ruling that the teenager be detained on foot of a Special Care order.

The original High Court decision was made last December and was appealed by the teenager.

Ruling

In her ruling, Ms Justice Máire Whelan said that the Special Care Order “was both necessary and proportionate and was validly made”.

In the conclusions to her 22,000 word judgement delivered on 12 April but published by the Courts Service on Thursday, Ms Justice Whelan found that “the degree of cruelty and dysfunctionality experienced by the girl during childhood was extraordinarily severe including the withholding of basic care and sadistic conduct”.

Ms Justice Whelan stated: “The evidence of the impact on her welfare and development of this is overwhelming, and bears out the argument that she does require the special care now proposed and that there is every chance that her welfare and development will benefit from the therapeutic care that is proposed.”

Ms Justice Whelan found that the High Court was correct in its conclusion that a special care order was in the best interests of the teenager and offered the best prospects of addressing the compelling evidence of real and substantial risk of harm that her own behaviour poses to her life, health, development, safety and welfare.

In the judgement, Ms Justice Whelan said that the 17 year old “was born into a household of extreme depravity and domestic violence” and her parents were locked into what was described as “a sadomasochistic relationship”.

A psychological report stated that the child’s father prevented the mother from breastfeeding or tending to the baby.

The report cited found that the child was physically and emotionally abused by her father and when she was old enough “the father recruited her to join him in the abuse of the mother”.

A 2017 risk assessment of the girl found that the care provided by parents was absent, unreliable and cruel.

The child’s mother was not allowed to hold or soothe the child when she cried, according to the report. The girl’s father was described as ‘sadistic’ and ‘cruel’ in the report.

The mother left the family home with the girl in 2010 to stay in a women’s refuge.

In 2012, after perpetrating a violent attack on her mother, the girl was the subject of a care order and has remained in care ever since.

The girl’s formal education concluded when she was aged 14. The judgement records that in recent years, the girl has engaged in criminal conduct.

The teenager told her Guardian ad Litem (GAL) that her reported long-term plan and ambition was to move to Los Angeles to work as a sex worker and in the adult porn film industry in order to achieve fame.

The GAL concluded that the girl should remain in special care for a period of time – the Child and Family Agency (CFA) is supportive of the High Court ruling.

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About the author:

Gordon Deegan

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