A woman who for many years systematically beaten and tortured her partner’s daughter and mocked her as a sort of Cinderella was imprisoned for two years.
Bridget Kenneally of 19 The Green, Duncoran, Youghal, Co Cork used a tool that included poker, spatula, wooden spoon, hinge set, and hoover pipe length to hit a child for almost 11 years.
Kenneally was imprisoned for two years at Cork Circuit Criminal Court on 7 October 2009 in Kenny’s Lane, Youghal for assaulting Cora Desmond, who was then 10 years old.
Desmond did not believe what he apologized and said, “I enjoyed tortured me and I will never regret what she did.”
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said: “This has continued to be brutally damaging to the victim for a long time.
“We are talking about the cruelty of controlled verbal and physical nature, including broken bones and other hospitalizations, and systemic abuse such as the forced supply of vinegar, peppers and other items.
“She was stripped of her childhood. What a child can expect for a carefree start was lost to her by painful misery.
“When the victim said he couldn’t accept an apology, I have to find the victim. It makes sense because she knows the accused and was not impressed with the apology.
“The psychologist’s report (Kenneally) shows that insight is limited or none, limited or no regret. It is full of dialectic of oneself. She feels that she has revenge on herself.
“She offered 5,000 euros to offset any copayments the victim may have suffered. I admit that this is an important figure in her limited circumstances.”
Attorney Patrick Orierden said the accused had expressed his regrets and apologies. He said she had a psychological history dating back to when her 15-year-old brother died in a car accident.
O’Riordan said of the accused, “She had a hard time coping.”
He asked the judge to take into account the conviction, the lack of previous convictions, compensation and current liability.
Prosecutors attorney Imelda Kelly said the indictment had accepted convictions for assault charges in 2009.
The DPP also said it could be handled at the level of a district court convicted of guilty.
Sergeant Mark Ward said the investigation began when 16-year-old Cora Desmond complained about the assault of Bridget Kenneally, who has a relationship with Cora’s father.
The victim was taken to Mercy University Hospital with more than 50 bruises on the body. In addition to summarizing years of physical attacks, she told Sergeant Ward about Kenneally adding peppers, vinegar and strong spices to food and being forced to eat them.
One of the threats she used to complain about was that she would be separated from her sister if she told her what was going on.
Sergeant Ward said Cora’s father no longer had a relationship with the defendant. Sgt Ward said Bridget Kenneally interviewed for assault and cruelty, but never admitted gardaí.
“When I was three years old, my parents separated, and my dad raised my sister and me. When I was five, he had a new relationship with Bridget Kenneally.
“In the early days of the relationship, Bridget seemed kind and caring, but it didn’t last long.
“About six months after the start of the 11-year relationship, the terrible abuse began with a few hits and punches, but it got worse.
“Over the years, it became clear that I was just a punch bag for Bridget. They (her children) were treated much better than me and my sister. They can go out and hang out with friends. My sister and I were denied the same freedom.
“Instead, we were trapped in her house to clean her and her children.
“I was an unwanted or unloved person and I had to be treated like her.
“I’ve been living a double life for 11 years. At home I was trapped and continued to live in fear of the next beatings or punishment. At school, I was free, happy, bubbly and full of life.
“(Later) the employees and others found out that I was not myself. I was now portrayed as quiet and I was keeping myself.
I lost my confidence and my friends, but most importantly, I lost my freedom.
“But here she stands in court to confront a brutal crime.
“My childhood and my teenage years were both based on lies, but today the truth has finally been revealed.
“I was made to lie about my injuries and tell people that I was just a clumsy kid. One of the many lies I had to tell was how I broke my thumb. The treat truth is that she broke it.
“I got to tell people that I broke when I hung the laundry in Bridget’s garden, but it wasn’t. She twisted my hand so much that she actually broke a bone.
“But that wasn’t the worst. On one occasion when I was admitted to the hospital, I had a severe beating with a swollen head. She made me tell the doctor that I slapped my head in Funderland.
“One of the recurring punishments for the day was that she gave me excessive amounts of salt, pepper, mustard, chili powder, and vinegar. Since leaving her treatment, I have a long lasting negative reaction to certain smells and tastes.
“With the help of my dependents, friends and counselor, I was able to remember all the things I blocked to live with her. There are several physical scars. It’s nothing compared to the mental wounds I live with every day now.
“She has been robbed of my happiness for 11 years. But I refuse to let her take my precious time from me anymore.
“I now understand that the terrible and inhumane treatment she puts on me wasn’t my fault and that even though it made me believe, I didn’t deserve anything.
“No one should ever go through what I did and I hope one day she will realize the damage caused by her actions. She took control of my past. I will not let it dictate my future.