Woman who accidentally stabbed toddler pleads guilty

A woman will be sentenced next year for accidentally stabbing an 18 month-old girl while she was attacking the child’s mother.

Shauna Kinsella of no fixed abode pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to three counts of assault causing harm to the toddler and her parents in their Dublin home on February 2, 2012. She has no previous convictions.

The baby, who was in her mother’s arms during the attack, was later treated for a 2cm cut to her cheek and an injury to her forehead. Her then 27- year-old mother sustained stab wounds to the abdomen, left chest, left arm and scalp.

The woman’s then 39- year-old partner had one stab injury to his lower chest wall. The family have all since physically recovered and the baby has not been left with a scar.

Garda Eddie Clarke said in court that Kinsella was in the family’s home that night after she had been invited back there through a mutual acquaintance.

The child’s parents had earlier spent almost four hours in a nearby pub with the toddler, before Kinsella, together with her sister and two other men, returned to the victims’ house to continue drinking.

Later that night the father went to bed and brought the toddler with him. A row then broke out between the Kinsella sisters and the baby’s mother when they claimed that the woman had punched Kinsella’s boyfriend while asking for a cigarette.

The two women started to attack the victim while the two men watched on. She tried to defend herself and then called for her partner to come down.

The man came downstairs with the toddler and handed her to her mother, while he tried to get the group to leave the house.

Gda Clarke said the woman was standing with her daughter in her arms when she felt something hit the top of her head and felt blood running down her face. She was then stabbed to the stomach.

The woman put her child back in her cot and only realised a short time later that the toddler had also been injured. The baby was later treated for a cut to her cheek and a bump to her forehead.

Kinsella was arrested the following day and made full admissions. She claimed the knife had been brought to the house by one of the other men.

She was very remorseful for hurting the baby in particular and said it had been accident.

She admitted that she knew the woman was holding the child when she stabbed her.

Gda Clarke agreed with Elva Duffy BL, defending, that the State accepted she had been reckless rather than intentional in her assault on the toddler.

He accepted that she has been in care since she was nine, has spent time homeless, has mental health and self harm issues and significant substance and alcohol abuse problems.

Ms Duffy said her client’s mother died when she was nine years-old and her father was an addict with several criminal convictions.

Fran Devlin, manager of a care taker hostel that has been assisting Kinsella, told Ms Duffy that she has a significant addiction to prescribed drugs.

She said that she believes Kinsella needs to undergo detoxification in a medical environment and recommended such a programme in St Michael’s Ward of Beaumont Hospital.

Ms Duffy said her client doesn’t underestimate the seriousness of the offence but asked the court to accept that Kinsella is vulnerable and has struggled to try and deal with her many issues.

She said she fully accepts her behaviour on the night, and is both remorseful and horrified by what she did.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring revoked Kinsella’s bail and remanded her in custody pending sentence next April after she said the serious nature of the three assaults could not be ignored.

She ordered a report from the Probation Service for that date and said it may be some significant time before the real impact of the assault on the toddler is known.

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