On the evening of October 15, 2016, a beautiful girl with a gift for the arts and a keen sense of humour walked into the home of her aunt and uncle in St. Marys, a small Irish city north of Dublin.
The girls mother was a nurse and the uncle a schoolteacher and the house, which sits in a small park, was the only one in the neighbourhood.
They had spent the previous night watching a film in the dining room and, after the lights went out, they were asleep.
But suddenly, the lights began to blink and the girls sister woke up.
She looked at her aunt, then saw the girl and went into a frenzy.
The girl’s sister said she was “punching and kicking” the girl.
As the girls mother watched, she grabbed the girl by the hair and screamed, “You’re going to die!”
The girl went limp and collapsed.
The woman ran to the window and screamed to the family, “We have to do something!”
The two children ran to their aunt and brother-in-law, who rushed them to hospital, where they were taken to hospital for surgery.
After five hours of emergency surgery, they both suffered fatal injuries.
The parents of the two girls, who were only 11 and 10 years old, were taken into custody.
A few days later, they filed a police report and the two children’s parents were charged.
The case was referred to the District Court, where the judge told the parents that they had “done an act of inhuman cruelty” and that their actions were “reckless and cruel.”
A week later, the two families’ case was heard in the High Court and the judge declared them “the most serious case of cruelty against a child that has ever been brought to my court.”
The judge also ruled that the girl’s mother had not been a good enough parent and that the case was “an assault upon the child.”
The two families were ordered to pay €250 each in damages and €60,000 in costs.
The judge said that the parents had committed “a serious breach of the law” and said the parents should be “taken out of their homes immediately.”
“You were a child of the house and the parents did not have to suffer the anguish and suffering that they were in,” the judge said.
“You are the source of all of the pain and suffering in the family.”
Despite this ruling, the judge also found that the family did not receive any financial support from the court and that, despite the fact that the mother had been convicted of child cruelty, “the court is not satisfied that her actions have been justified.”
The court also ordered the parents to pay the costs of the case and the girl will also be entitled to damages for her injuries.
When the case reached the Supreme Court, the judges majority unanimously ruled that there was insufficient evidence to show that the couple had engaged in a “form of cruelty” that was “unusual” in its nature and that there were insufficient grounds for the judge to conclude that the behaviour was “cruel.”
The judges also found the couple guilty of failing to protect their children and the family had breached the family’s rights.
In the end, the family lost €130,000.
But not all of that money came from the parents.
The father and mother received a further €50,000, which is deducted from the family income, the court heard.
In a statement to The Irish Mail on Sunday, the father said that he had a very strong sense of compassion for his daughter and the damage that had been done to her.
“I would like to thank the court for what they have done,” he said.
He added that he would continue to fight for the case.
He also said that his daughter had been a “little bit sad” about the whole thing and that she had not had a chance to speak to her family since she was taken into the care of her grandparents.
“She is an innocent child and I will continue to defend her,” he added.
The couple’s case is not the first time a court has been swayed by the power of the internet.
In 2015, a man from California was sentenced to 30 years in prison for “sending death threats to his ex-girlfriend’s parents” after he posted her messages online.
The man’s defence lawyer argued that the messages were “grossly offensive and made in a cruel way,” adding that he “would have been sentenced to more than 30 years if it wasn’t for the internet.”
The woman in that case, a former police officer, received a six-year sentence for “disturbing the peace.”
She was found not guilty by reason of insanity.