MARY Meehan first came forward to tell her horrific story of child abuse to police in 2008 and following year waived her anonymity to speak to The Irish News.
The daughter of prominent republican Martin Meehan, who died suddenly in 2007, she had been subjected to around 15 month of almost daily physical and mental abuse at the hands of her stepmother.
Briege Meehan had moved into the Meehan family home in Ardoyne in 1979.
Shortly afterwards Martin Meehan, an IRA leader in the area, was imprisoned and the abuse of the three children left in her care intensified.
Mary bore the brunt of her stepmother’s temper until she was taken into care, underweight, covered in bruises and with patches of hair missing.
Records show that in February 21 1980 social services receive an anonymous call reporting that Mary had a black eye.
Some months later a school nurse reported serious bruises on Mary. She was removed finally from the home and taken to Lissue House Hospital in the November of 1980.
The former Sinn Féin councillor, who knocked Mary unconscious and forced her to sleep in a wet bed, finally pleaded guilty to a charge of cruelty and two assaults against the child in her care.
She was allowed to walk free with a suspended sentence on the basis of her age, guilty pleas and perceived low risk to the public.
She was also suspended from her Sinn Féin post while the investigation was ongoing before finally being removed from her seat on Newtownabbey council.
Speaking to the Irish News following the court case Mary said: “After Briege came to live with us I lost what was left of my childhood.”
Mary would have been entitled to a criminal injury payment if she had not lived with her abuser. However an antiquated ‘same roof’ policy led to her being refused compensation.
That was overturned yesterday by Lord Justice Treacy who said: “We can think of no reasonable foundation for a decision to maintain in being an arbitrary exclusion of this proven victim of criminal injuries from a compensation scheme which is specifically designed to compensate such victims.”
With many thanks to: The Irish News for the original story
Read more: Mary Meehan wins compensation battle over abuse at hands of stepmother Briege Meehan