Woman jailed after abuse of stepdaughter she called ‘Cinderella’

A woman has been jailed for two years after she admitted beating her six year old stepdaughter with a poker, forcing her to eat food spiked with hot and bitter flavourings and taunting her she was like Cinderella because no one wanted or loved her.

Bridget Kenneally of The Green, Duncoran, Youghal pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court today to assault causing harm to her step daughter, Cora Desmond at Kenny’s Lane, Youghal on a date between October 1st and October 31st 2009.

Cora Desmond outlined in her Victim Impact Statement that her father Cliff entered into a new relationship with Bridget Kenneally when she was five-years-old and at the start of the relationship seemed nice and caring.

However the court heard that about six months in, the abuse began with a slaps and punches before gradually getting worse. Ms Desmond described herself as a punching bag to for Bridget.

She said she was treated differently to the 49-year-old’s own three children who were given the freedom to hang out with their friends whereas she and her older sister, Chelsea were confined at home to clean up after Kenneally and her own children.

The court heard that Ms Kenneally had given her the name Cora Ella and told her she was just like Cinderella because she was the one that was not wanted or loved.

She told the court how she was made to lie about her injuries to her friends and teachers and when one of the beatings put her in hospital, and how she was forced to eat foods spiked with excessive amounts of hot and bitter flavourings.

Defence barrister, Patrick O’Riordan said his client was remorseful and wished to apologise but Ms Desmond rejected the apology.

Judge Sean O Donnabhain  acknowledged Ms Kenneally had pleaded guilty and also Ms Desmond’s view on her apology as not being genuine as she was familiar with the defendant’s methodology and behaviour.

He said that all factors into account including that Ms Kenneally had handed over €5,000 in compensation, he believed the appropriate sentence was one of three years but he would give her a discount of one year for her guilty plea and he jailed her for two years.

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