A 20-month-old boy became "a different child" after his mother scalded him with boiling water, his foster mother said.

The attack left the child with disfiguring scarring. His mother has today been sentenced to nine years in jail with the final two years suspended.

Last July, the court heard victim impact statements from the foster mother to the boy and his brother..

She and her husband chose the boys in October 2018 as they "needed a forever home" and that they "felt blessed" to bring them into their family.

The boys were placed with them in December 2018 and she said it was the "happiest day of their lives" when they came to live with them.

"They were happy, affectionate and fitted in. In February 2019 we got news that their biological mother wanted access to them," she said.

We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

"We were concerned, as we thought we were going to lose the boys. Every Thursday they were given time with their mother, this went on for eight months," she said.

She added that 9 October was a day that they will never forget. The foster mother said her husband dropped the boys off at their biological mother's house and that they were clingy and anxious and did not want to go.

"He left the kids with the social worker, not knowing what would happen. To this day my husband feels so guilty. I got a phone call saying there was an incident with boiling water," she continued.

When they arrived at the hospital, she said one of the boys was no longer the "beautiful little boy" she had said goodbye to that morning.

"The doctor did not know if he could hear or see, his skin was melted," she said.

She said the boy's brother no longer recognised him and it was like he was a "stranger to him, as if he was afraid of him".

"They were best friends, this has all changed now," she said.

"He was a different child when he got home, he was nervous and clingy. He was in so much pain it killed myself and my husband to watch him suffer.

"He had to learn how to walk again, he was so fragile, his burns were so severe they had to be dressed three to four times a day.

"Going forward he will have to have multiple surgeries. He needs to have his skin coated with silicone cream three times a day. He has been permanently scarred for life.

"I dread the day he is teased about this from other kids. I don't know what the future holds but we will give them all the love and support we can. No child should have to suffer the way he did."

Social worker not able to return to work, court told

In a second victim impact statement, a social worker said her life has considerably changed since the incident.

Mr Justice David Keane paid tribute to her for bringing the boy and his brother to safety after the incident for her "remarkable presence of mind" and for the courage she displayed in protecting the boys and getting them out of the house.

The woman said she has not been able to return to her work, adding that she now suffers flashbacks, insomnia and PTSD.

"I have vivid images of his skin peeling from his face and his high-pitched screams, which keep me awake at night," she added.

"The production of the knife caused fear for my life and the lives of the children. Not knowing if help was coming caused me to be paralysed with fear. When the door was locked, I feared me and the children weren't going to get out alive.

"Listening to a mother say 'I want to kill my children' while holding a knife and pouring boiling water over one is something I can't get my head around," she continued.

The woman said she suffered shoulder injuries from holding the door closed and by carrying the children to safety. She has also been financially impacted by being out of work and said the financial worry causes her immense stress.

She prefers to stay in her home as that is where she feels safe and she can no longer care for children professionally.

She said that day has changed her life.

Mr Justice Keane accepted the mother was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the offence, although it did not reach the necessary threshold for the defence of insanity.

He said mental illness may reduce culpability even when the offender acted deliberately.

The woman, who cannot be identified to protect her children's anonymity, was originally charged with two counts of attempted murder on 9 October 2019 at her home.