A drunken car crash has potentially led to five children being taken into care, a court heard today (Friday).
Appearing at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court by videolink from police custody, the 24-year-old woman and her male co-accused (34), who cannot be identified to protect the identities of their children, were jointly charged with child cruelty on March 18.
The female was further charged with careless driving, drunk driving, driving while banned and without insurance on the same date.
Giving evidence to the court during contested bail applications, a police officer outlined how the investigation began when police received a report of a road traffic collision on the Brownlow Road, Craigavon just after midnight.
At the scene, officers found an abandoned VW Sharan people carrier in the hedge and witnesses recounted how they had saw a man and woman flee the scene with a baby.
A short time later, other officers were called to an ongoing domestic incident where one of the children commented that “mummy” had crashed the car so they had to walk home.
While there were five children at the property, the woman couldn’t give details about who all was present “due to her intoxication.”
Police also observed muddy items of clothing at the property, with clean clothes also in the washing machine, said the officer adding that when the kids were taken to hospital to be examined, doctors had “concern” about their health.
Both defendants were arrested for driving offences and during interview the male stated that the female had been the driver at the time of the collision.
The female admitted to driving but denied being intoxicated at the time or that any of the children were present, claiming they had been with their aunt, that she had started drinking when she got home and blaming the ill health of the children on a change in nappy brand.
The officer said police had objections to bail due to fears the pair would flee the jurisdiction and the court also heard that Social Services would be making an Emergency Protection Order with regards to the children.
Remanding the pair into custody and adjourning the bail applications to Monday, Deputy District Judge Chris Holmes stated: “The allegation is that she drove a car whilst under the influence with children on board and crashed.
“At the hospital the doctors were shocked at the physical presentation of these children…my difficulty is that this application appears premature.”
He adjourned the applications pending the outcome of the Emergency Protection Order.