A MOTHER and her ex-partner facing charges arising out of the death of 15-month-old baby Millie Martin initially had no explanation as to why she had arrived at a hospital emergency unit “limp and lifeless”.
Dungannon Crown Court heard that when asked what had happened to the infant, her mother Rachael repeatedly ignored the question, while her former lover, Barry Michael McCarney, said: “I found her like this.”
Nursing staff at the Erne Hospital in Enniskillen also claimed that the pair, while distressed and agitated, seemed to keep their distance from one and other and that at one stage McCarney “was concerned that he had to get home to get changed”.
However, staff said that McCarney later claimed that when he went to check on baby Millie, he thought the infant wasn’t breathing, and while Rachael reported that her daughter had “flu-like symptoms” that day and was “lethargic”, she kept wanting to be reassured that her child would be “alright”.
While baby Millie was pronounced dead in Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children on December 11, 2009, a consultant has already claimed the infant was already brain-stem dead by the time she was being treated at her local Co Fermanagh hospital.
Staff nurse Sinead Doyle said when admitted to A&E the infant “appeared limp and lifeless”. She said she asked McCarney, who had rushed in barefoot with baby Millie in his arms, what had happened, but he only replied that he was “the partner”.
When asked again what had happened to the infant, McCarney told staff: “I found her like this.”
The court heard that, on being asked “Where’s mum?”, McCarney started towards the door as he took off his ‘hoodie’ because it had a blood stain, which he did not want the child’s mother to see.
At that point, a weeping Martin arrived, and McCarney told staff nurse Doyle: “That’s Rachael.”
The staff nurse said she “went straight over to her and said, I have to talk to you, and what happened to the baby”.
Martin, she claimed, went across the room and sat down.
“She was crying and sat down and put her head in her hands,” said staff nurse Doyle, who added that despite “repeatedly” asking what happened to the youngster, she “got no response” to her queries.
Martin, she said, however, asked if she could see her daughter and she took her down, while returning to tell doctors she could get them no information as to what had happened to baby Millie.
Night duty nurse Silvia Love said when baby Millie was rushed in, the infant was “unresponsive ... very grey ... very pale ... and there was a small cut, or nick, on the bottom of her left lip”.
She claimed McCarney told her that “he normally checked the child nearly every hour-and-a-half”. He added later when asked how he found the child, he “felt the child was lifeless and there was no response”.
Nurse Love said he then told her “he brought her (the child) downstairs ... he shook her ... and proceeded to give her mouth to mouth”, before running to a neighbour to get a lift to the hospital ... he said she wasn’t breathing,” added the nurse.
She said she then asked Martin about her daughter and how she had been that day and was told she had had “flu-like symptoms ... very weak ... lethargic ... drank milk all day”.
Nurse Love said that McCarney appeared “very agitated” but was “concerned that he had to get home to get changed” because he had a “mark” on his sleeve, although she could not say what it was.
She added that while a crying Martin had her “mother for comfort and reassurance”, she became “hysterical” when told baby Millie had to be helped with her breathing.
Later under cross-examination, nurse Love agreed that when first interviewed by police she had made no mention of McCarney saying he found baby Millie “lifeless and there was no response”.
She also agreed that Martin, when told of the treatment being given to her daughter, not only became hysterical, she also asked: “What, she’s not breathing for herself?”.
Ward sister Betty McCleery said when an “unkempt” looking baby Millie, with “long straggly hair”, was admitted “lifeless and pale” she was “immediately worried and extremely concerned”. Sister McCleery said she first saw McCarney “pacing up and down the corridor ... he appeared anxious and agitated”, but that she had first heard Martin crying before actually seeing her.
“She was emotional ... she was crying ... she had eye contact with myself, and her words were ... will she be alright, will she be alright?” claimed the sister.
However, Sister McCleery claimed that McCarney and Martin “were not present with each other” and that she “did not observe physical contact between them”.
However, under cross-examination she admitted telling police she saw the pair “standing shoulder to shoulder ... but at no point did I see any communication between them”.
She also agreed that when Martin’s family were told of the suspected sexual injuries to baby Millie, her grandfather ordered that “what is said within these four walls remains within these four walls until we get to Belfast”.
McCarney, from Woodview Crescent, Trillick, who denies murder, is also accused of sexually assaulting the infant girl and with unlawfully and maliciously causing the child grievous bodily harm, and causing her death by an unlawful act.
Millie’s mother, from Main Street, Kesh, is accused of failing to protect her from the unlawful act that caused her death and wilfully neglecting her in a manner likely to cause her unnecessary suffering.
Their trial continues on Monday.