A father, from the south east of Ireland, suffering from anxiety and depression, pleaded guilty to trying to murder his four children.

A child pleaded as his father tried to strangle the youngster to death, “Daddy we can get you help, just don’t do it.”

The terror-stricken plea from the youngster who had been playing Xbox was outlined at the Central Criminal Court when the father admitted trying to murder his four children.

The hearing on Monday heard he told two of the children as he held their necks it was their mammy’s fault.

He did not have the energy to “hold any longer” on their necks as they resisted and he let them go.

Minutes earlier, he believed he had strangled to death the two younger children in another room and he kissed them on the forehead.

He fled the house at an address in the south east of Ireland that cannot be identified and told a relative, “I've done something stupid.”

Emergency services were called and one of the children was found unconscious. The others had injuries and were gasping for air. All were taken to hospital.

The court was told the children were interviewed by specialists and would need support for many years to deal with the effect of the attack on them.

The man, who cannot be identified on court orders to protect the identity of the children, told gardai he had been diagnosed with depression and social anxiety and in the days leading up to the event he had reduced his medication.

He also told gardai he was planning on killing himself when he found out his wife was going on a date. “I thought if I killed them they wouldn’t be upset,” he said.

His ex-wife said in a victim impact statement that she will never forget the voicemail from one child screaming at her to come home on June 3, 2016, and a subsequent Snapchat message to say a younger child was “nearly dead.”

She said she knew in her gut that something had happened. She outlined the effect on each of her children and said they were “the bravest children you will ever meet.”

Her statement added, “I am so glad he has pleaded guilty...I am ready to move on and stop looking over my shoulder, living in fear, checking the door is locked and worrying that he could do it all over again.

“I have to remember I have four beautiful children and other families were not as lucky as me.”

The man, who is in custody, will be sentenced by Justice Michael White on October 17.

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