Care assistant gets suspended sentence for assault at St Raphael’s

Family of man with intellectual disability welcome conviction for two assaults

The family of a 60-year-old man with intellectual disabilities have expressed their satisfaction that a care worker got a suspended jail term after she was convicted of twice assaulting the man at a HSE facility.

Members of the Murphy family, whose brother Michael is a resident in St Raphael's Centre in Youghal, Co Cork, said they were satisfied with the outcome of the case after hearing care assistant Mary Wall had resigned from St Raphael's following her conviction for assault.

Wall of Harbour View Court, Windmill Road, Youghal, was convicted by Judge Terence Finn at Youghal District Court last month of two counts of assaulting Michael Murphy at St Raphael's on February 20th 2015.

And on Friday, Judge Finn sentenced Wall, who resigned on February 14th, to two concurrent terms of three months each for the two assaults. He suspended both for two years.


Speaking after sentencing, Mr Murphy's sister Margo O'Sullivan said all that she and her siblings, Sheila Coleman, Mary Kelleher and John and Martin Murphy wanted for their brother was that he was properly looked after in St Raphael's.

“Michael is our priority. We were glad to hear that Mary Wall won’t work in the caring profession again and won’t have any dealings with Michael or any other vulnerable person. It was very distressing for us to hear and watch the videos showing her assaulting Michael,” she said.


Wall was a care assistant for Mr Murphy who was described as severely autistic with intellectual disabilities. He is unable to speak and can screech when agitated.

One assault involved Wall approaching Mr Murphy after he began making a noise while lying on a sofa, and putting her hand under his head and pushing him up to get him to a bathroom to engage in water therapy which he enjoys and calms him down.

The second assault, minutes later, involved Wall slapping Mr Murphy in the stomach when he was again vocalising and she again tried to get him to the bathroom.

Judge Finn said that Wall did not believe what she did were assaults.

The HSE said it was “committed to a ‘no tolerance’ approach to abuse of vulnerable people”.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times