Belfast Telegraph

Father of 'shaken' baby is bailed to live in west Belfast

By Paul higgins

A father whose baby daughter died after he allegedly shook her has been freed on bail and allowed to move back to west Belfast.

Christopher O'Neill is charged with causing grievous bodily harm to his baby daughter Caragh Walsh on February 5.

The three-month-old girl fought for life for two days after being admitted to Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital.

A bail condition that barred 23-year-old O'Neill from contacting his partner Tammy-Louise Walsh was also removed by consent.

When he first appeared in court last Friday, a police officer said the infant had suffered a "significant traumatic brain injury" and was bleeding in her brain.

He outlined to Craigavon Magistrates Court how baby Caragh was taken to hospital on Wednesday of last week "unconscious and not breathing". The officer had said that a CT scan revealed subarachnoid and subdural bleeding on to her brain.

The officer said police were alerted by medical staff as they were not satisfied with O'Neill's explanation for his daughter's injuries.

That court was told O'Neill, who works at Poundland in west Belfast's Park Centre, admitted "shaking" the girl when challenged during police interviews.

His solicitor claimed O'Neill had been looking after his daughter at the Glasvey Park flat he shared with Ms Walsh in the Twinbrook area of west Belfast when Caragh "became suddenly ill".

In a "panic" he took steps which he thought were "perfectly reasonable in the circumstances".

During two days of police interviews O'Neill was granted compassionate police bail to visit his dying daughter in hospital.

The couple had been together for 18 months and had only moved into the apartment five days before the incident, the court heard.

Yesterday a prosecution lawyer told Lisburn Magistrates Court the police were happy for O'Neill to move from his bail address in east Belfast to the Whiterock Road in the west of the city.

O'Neill, whose family filled the public gallery, was released on continuing bail and told to return to court on March 10.

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