Belfast Telegraph

'Assaulted' Bessbrook toddler found in lifeless state now out of intensive care

By Claire Williamson

A toddler who was discovered "lifeless" following an alleged assault is making "fantastic progress" and has been released from intensive care.

The two-year-old girl was in a critical condition following the incident at her home in Bessbrook, Co Armagh last month.

Just two days ago the High Court heard that the toddler remained under close hospital supervision for blunt trauma injuries sustained at her home in Bessbrook, Co Armagh.

But last night in an update on the PSNI Newry and Mourne Twitter account, officers said that the little girl was out of intensive care.

They posted: "Toddler who suffered major injuries in Bessbrook last month out of intensive care, off most medication and making fantastic progress!"

Police were called to a house at Charlemont Square East in the village shortly before 8pm on October 19 while the emergency services also rushed to the scene.

Officers discovered the toddler in a "lifeless" condition at her home after they responded to report that a child outside the house was not breathing.

Prosecuting barrister Robin Steer, detailing the extent of the girl's injuries said her skull had been fractured in several places.

She sustained a severe, traumatic blunt injury involving significant force, the barrister explained.

With the girl still being treated at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, Mr Steer said the risk to her life has now reduced.

But he added: "The child is still unable to see due to her injuries. She is still obviously being closely monitored in relation to that." The update was delivered as bail was refused to a man charged with her attempted murder.

Darren Fagan (24) from Clonavon Avenue in Portadown, Co Armagh, denies the allegations, claiming instead that she was dropped while being carried up stairs by her mother.

During police interviews Fagan claimed that the girl's mother fell from the stairs while holding her daughter.

He also alleged that the woman had been drinking and taking drugs that day.

Although the prosecution argued that he changed his account, defence counsel insisted it was a case of his word against the mother's.

"Throughout his interviews he's consistent that she was taking the child up the stairs and she dropped the child at a time when she was under the influence of alcohol and drugs."

His barrister added: "He finds the suggestion of assaulting a child repugnant and he wishes me to say that. This is a case where he protests his innocence."

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