A YOUNG dad left his two-year-old baby daughter at the side of a road to get revenge after his ex-girlfriend went on a night out.
The man then took pictures of the abandoned child before sending them to her mother and driving off.
The child was found crying and in a terrified state by two passers-by at 5am.
The man, who is in his 20s, appeared at Letterkenny District Court in Co Donegal where he pleaded guilty to a charge of child cruelty.
The court ordered that the child's father cannot be named to protect the toddler's identity.
Details of the terrifying incident were outlined in court by Garda Sergeant Frank McDaid of Letterkenny Garda Station.
He told how two men returning from a night-out in Letterkenny in August 2020 had initially thought they had heard a child crying.
To their terror they found a young child in socks with no shoes holding a baby's bottle with milk at the entrance to a construction site.
They immediately began banging on the doors of local houses thinking the child had accidentally walked out of one of the houses.
However, none of those who answered recognised the little girl and the Gardai were contacted.
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The child was quickly put into a patrol car and wrapped up as she was feeling cold.
A woman later telephoned the Garda station explaining that the lost child was her daughter and that she had been in the care of her father earlier the night.
The court heard how the man had become jealous that his ex-partner had been out socialising and had telephoned the woman on at least 30 occasions during which he threatened to abandon the child.
At 4.30am the man threatened his ex-partner that he would leave the child if she did not tell him where she was.
The man eventually followed through on his threat but not before he took a picture of the child alone by the side of the road and sending it to her mother and her sister before driving off.
A full investigation was launched during which CCTV showing the man driving off leaving the toddler alone was recovered.
The accused was arrested by Gardai and when confronted he told them "Aye, I was expecting this silly thing."
He was interviewed on four occasions during which he admitted getting the child out of her bed and leaving her in Letterkenny saying his temper go the better of him.
He also admitted that "anything could have happened to the child" but said he had been on medication for depression which he had stopped taking.
VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT
A victim impact statement on behalf of the child's mother said the child still struggles to be around other people and will only stay with her and her parents.
The young woman said her daughter or herself had never been through anything so traumatic but added that they are getting through it.
The court was also told that the young man has not seen his daughter since the incident.
Barrister for the accused, Ms Fiona Crawford, said her client was rightfully ashamed of what he had done and was very remorseful.
Ms Crawford said her client admitted that he had used the child as a pawn in a jealous relationship and there was no excuse for it.
He added that he really appreciated what the passing men had done in finding his daughter admitting that they had "saved her life."
Ms Crawford added "He had lost the head and temper got at him. He was taking matters out on his child.
"She would have been scared and confused.
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"There is no excuse and he is so disappointed, disgusted and ashamed of himself."
Judge John Aylmer adjourned the case until next week for the finalisation of sentence.
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