Baby Millie’s killer has appeal thrown out

CCTV footage of Barry McCarney bringing the seriously injured Millie Martin into the A&E department of the Erne Hospital in Enniskillen
CCTV footage of Barry McCarney bringing the seriously injured Millie Martin into the A&E department of the Erne Hospital in Enniskillen
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A man jailed for murdering his ex-partner’s 15-month-old daughter has failed in a bid to have his convictions overturned.

Barry McCarney challenged verdicts that he was guilty of killing Millie Martin as well as subjecting her to a sexual assault and grievous bodily harm.

But senior judges threw out the appeal after rejecting criticisms about the handling of applications for no case to answer at his trial.

Alleged failures in how the jury was directed were also dismissed.

Lord Justice Higgins said: “We do not consider that any of the matters relied upon by the applicant rendered his trial for the murder of Millie Martin to have been unfair.”

McCarney, 35, was ordered to serve a minimum 25 years of a life sentence imposed for killing the toddler.

She died in December 2009 after being admitted to hospital in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh with serious injuries.

The child had sustained multiple fractured ribs, heavy bruising and a burnt finger.

McCarney, formerly of Trillick, Co Tyrone, had started a relationship with Millie’s mother, Rachael, and moved into the family home in Enniskillen months before her death.

Although he was found guilty of murder, no verdict was entered on a separate count of causing the death of a child.

Rachael Martin was acquitted at trial of allowing her daughter’s death and cruelty through wilful neglect.

McCarney’s legal team argued that he was denied a fair trial.

But Lord Justice Higgins, sitting with Lord Justice Coghlin and Mr Justice Horner, held that the trial judge had been “scrupulous” in ensuring proceedings against McCarney were fair.

He also pointed out how the defendant declined to give evidence, unlike his co-accused Rachael Martin.

According to the judge the central argument in the appeal involved the inclusion of the second count of causing the death of a child and its impact on the timing of an application – never made – for no case to answer on the murder charge.

Disimissing the challenge, he said: “We have considered the incorrect inclusion of Count 2 and its effect in deferring the consideration of whether there was a case to answer and are not persuaded that the verdicts in this case are thereby unsafe.

“Nor do we have any sense of unease about their correctness.”

McCarney, who appeared by video link from prison to hear his appeal being thrown out, is now expected to press ahead with a bid to have his jail term reduced.