A mother and her ex-partner facing charges arising out of the death of 15-month-old Millie Martin initially had no explanation as to why she had arrived at an A&E department “limp and lifeless”.
Dungannon Crown Court heard that when asked what had happened to the infant her mum Rachael Martin repeatedly ignored the question, while her partner Barry McCarney said: “I found her like this.”
Nursing staff at Erne Hospital in Enniskillen also claimed the pair, while distressed and agitated, seemed to keep their distance from one another, and that at one stage McCarney “was concerned that he had to get home to get changed”.
Hospital staff said that McCarney later claimed that when he went to check on Millie, he thought the infant wasn't breathing, and while Rachael reported that her daughter had “flu-like symptoms” and was “lethargic”, she kept wanting to be reassured that her child would be “all right”.
While baby Millie was pronounced dead in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children on December 11, 2009, a consultant has told the court the infant was already brain dead by the time she was being treated at the Fermanagh hospital.
Nurse Sinead Doyle said that when admitted to A&E the infant “appeared limp and lifeless”.
She said when she asked McCarney, who had rushed in barefoot with Millie in his arms, what had happened, he replied only that he was “the partner”.
When asked again what had happened to the infant, McCarney told staff: “I found her like this.”
On being asked “where's mum?”, McCarney started towards the door as he took off his hoodie because it had a bloodstain.
At that point a weeping Martin arrived, and McCarney told nurse Doyle: “That's Rachael.”
The nurse said she “went straight over to her and said: ‘I have to talk to you, and what happened the baby?’”
Martin, she claimed, sat down.
“She was crying and sat down and put her head in her hands,” said nurse Doyle, who added that despite “repeatedly” asking what happened, she “got no response” to queries.
She said Martin asked if she could see her daughter, and she took her down, before returning to tell doctors she could get them to give no information as to what had happened. Night duty nurse Silvia Love said when 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”.
Nurse Love said McCarney 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,” the nurse added.
She said she then asked Martin about her daughter and how she'd been that day, and was told she'd had “flu-like symptoms”.
Nurse Love said McCarney appeared “very agitated”, but was “concerned that he had to get home to get changed” because he had a “mark” on his sleeve.
She added that while a crying Martin had her “mother for comfort and reassurance”, she became “hysterical” when told Millie had to be helped with her breathing.
Under cross-examination she agreed that at interview by police she'd made no mention of McCarney saying he found Millie “lifeless”. She agreed Martin, when told of the treatment, became hysterical and asked: “What, she's not breathing for herself?”
Ward sister Betty McCleery said when an “unkempt” looking Millie, with “long, straggly hair” was admitted “lifeless and pale”, and she was “immediately worried”.
The sister 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 all right, will she be all right?’. Sister McCleery claimed McCarney and Martin “were not present with each other” and that she “did not observe physical contact between them”.
She further claimed that in the intensive care family waiting room “their body language appeared as if they were in disagreement”, and that while McCarney sat on one chair, Martin sat across from him, “with her back to him”.
Sister McCleery said when it came time for Millie to be transferred to Belfast McCarney, who'd changed his clothes, was up to 30 feet away from Martin and her family group and “was not included in any family discussion”.
McCarney, from Woodview Crescent, Trillick, who denies murder, is also accused of sexually assaulting the infant, causing grievous bodily harm, and causing her death by an unlawful act.
Millie's mum, 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 unnecessary suffering.
The trial continues on Monday.