Girl, 17, Threw Boiling Water Over Social Worker, Court Hears

A 17-year-old Dublin girl who was having “a bad come-down” on prescription drugs when she scalded her social worker has had her sentence adjourned by Judge Patricia Ryan until November.

She pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Mr David McGrath at the Millbrook Lawns Care Centre in Tallaght on November 15, 2006 by throwing a jug of boiling water over him.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told garda she was sorry for her action and revealed that the night before she had taken 13 prescription tablets, which had not been prescribed to her, and was having “a bad come-down” when she threw the water over him but claimed it wasn’t boiling

Garda Derrick Doyle told prosecuting counsel, Mr John Quirke BL, in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, that the girl wanted to use the phone shortly after she got up at 5pm that day but was refused permission by Mr McGrath because she had abused her “phone privileges” the previous evening.

Gda Doyle said Mr McGrath went upstairs to get small change after the girl asked him for her pocket money. He noticed the girl had gone into the kitchen and was holding a jug of hot water when she asked him for the money but thought she was going to make soup.

When he returned downstairs through the kitchen door she threw the water at him, hitting the back of his head, neck and chest when he averted his face.

Gda Doyle said Mr McGrath ran into the living room ripping his shirt and screaming from the scalds.

His colleague who witnessed the incident saw the girl “calmly” place the empty jug on the table before going upstairs. He rang the gardaí and for an ambulance which took Mr McGrath to Tallaght Hospital for treatment for his wounds.

Mr Quirke read out Mr McGrath’s victim impact report in which he stated he still received treatment for his burns, felt depressed and didn’t want to work in a children’s’ care centre again for fear of more violence against him.

Mr McGrath said he hadn’t been able to work since the scalding and, although he was still on the Health Service Executive (HSE) payroll, he only receives a disability allowance.

Gda Doyle agreed with defence counsel, Ms Sandra Frayne BL, that the girl expressed remorse for her actions. He further agreed that she started abusing drugs when she was 13 years old, had been in six different foster homes since her mother died when she was aged 11 and that her father was in prison.