Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Mum of girl found in snow ‘reported children missing’

The mother of a young child found wandering in the snow in Omagh last year contacted police to say someone had taken her children, a court has been told.

Constable Joseph Ferguson told Omagh Magistrates Court yesterday that he had received the call from the woman at 6.27am on Friday, February 5.

“She informed me that two children have been taken and that they were missing,” he told the court. “I informed her that one of her children had been found walking in Omagh by a member of the public.”

The other child had been removed from her bed by police.

He said he had also told her the children had been brought to the police station.

The case relates to an incident in Omagh last February when the young girl was found wandering barefoot in the snow at 5.30am. She was wearing only a pair of white pyjamas.

During the opening day of the trial in December, Omagh Magistrates Court heard the child had been discovered outside a SuperValu supermarket in the town on a freezing cold winter’s morning.

Police were called and they used a combination of the child's directions and her footprints in the snow to trace a route back to her house. When they found it, a police officer told the court the front door had been lying ajar.

Once inside she recalled the house as very untidy, with beer bottles and food lying around the place. The two accused were asleep in an upstairs bedroom which had a strong smell of alcohol, the officer said.

She recalled having trouble trying to wake the couple, who had a baby lying in bed with them. The baby was taken away with officers in a police car.

Yesterday lawyers acting on behalf of the defendants asked whether Constable Ferguson could be sure he could remember all the details of the emergency phone call which lasted just “several minutes” 11 months ago.

Constable Ferguson said the short details he had noted on the police log immediately after the call jogged his memory.

He said the call stuck in his head because of its more unusual nature and the involvement of children and social services.

District Judge Greg McCourt said he was happy to accept the evidence. The case was adjourned until January 20.

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