The mother of murdered toddler Millie Martin joked that her daughter’s injuries had been caused by “ghosts”, a court has heard.
Rachael Martin, from Kesh, Co Fermanagh, is accused of allowing the death of her 15-month-old daughter in December 2009.
Her ex-partner, Barry Michael McCarney (33), from Trillick in Co Tyrone, denies murdering and sexually abusing Millie (below).
A Dungannon Crown Court jury yesterday heard that Martin had once joked that ghosts may have been responsible for the repeated injuries to her baby daughter.
However, Martin's mother, Margaret Graham, claimed the remark had been made only as “a figure of speech”.
Mrs Graham was being cross-examined by McCarney's defence QC Eilis McDermott. Mrs Graham agreed that “there was jokes”, but explained that “in a figure of speech, Rachael joked to me that may well be the case”.
However, the “repeated and severe” attacks were carried out by a real person or persons, a top paediatrician told the court.
Child protection consultant Dr Katherine Ward was unequivocal in her opinion as to what had happened to Millie, who, in her words, had “a very uneventful medical history and was being attended to appropriately ... up until September 2009”.
The court had already heard it was around this time, her first birthday, that Millie was first injured.
Dr Ward said “having considered the investigation, witness statements, and medical reports, I concluded that there is clear evidence that Millie was the subject of repeated and severe inflicted injury, which led to multiple injuries, including a fatal head injury”.
With regard to the head injury which eventually lead to Millie's death, Dr Ward said that considering the large bruising it left, it would have been “associated with a memorable event, which would not have gone unnoticed”, and there was nothing to suggest in the toddler's history it was non-accidental.