Belfast Telegraph

I tried to act as a dad to Millie Martin, man accused of her murder told police

By Michael Donnelly

A man accused of killing an Enniskillen toddler told police he tried to act as a father to her, his trial has heard.

Barry Michael McCarney described 15-month-old Millie Martin to officers after his arrest as a “beautiful little child... a beautiful girl”.

McCarney (33) is accused of murdering Millie in December 2009. He also denies sexually and physically abusing the toddler while he lived with her and her 27-year-old mother, Rachael Martin, at their Glebe Park home in Enniskillen.

Dungannon Crown Court heard that McCarney told detectives that while he was not the toddler's biological father, he nevertheless tried “to be a dad to her”.

He described her in police interviews as “joyful ... she's just your average one-year-old learning to talk”.

Millie died a day after she was admitted to Erne Hospital in Enniskillen with serious injuries in December 2009.

The trial previously heard the little girl died from a blow to the head and had also suffered a catalogue of other injuries. The jury heard that following his arrest at Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, where Millie had been transferred, McCarney had said he was OK, and willing to be questioned as he had “nothing to be afraid of”.

In the taped interview, McCarney said that on the day Millie was rushed to the Erne hospital, he and the child had been unwell.

He said he had gone to work as normal, but returned home, taking to his bed for most of the rest of the day.

He told police that as Millie was being put to bed, the youngster looked like she was “dosed with the flu” and it seemed as if she “had no energy and couldn't really open her eyes”.

McCarney later described looking in on Millie just moments after her mother Rachael — who denies neglecting the child and allowing her death — went to a shop to buy him a Kit-Kat.

“I saw Millie do a real big gasp and I waited for a big gasp again and she didn't,” he said.

“I went over to the cot and she wasn't breathing. I shouted, ‘Millie! Millie! Millie!' and reached in and picked her up and gave her a wee shake and called out.”

He then put two fingers down her throat, thinking there may have been something stuck in it but found nothing.

McCarney claimed he tried to revive Millie by giving her mouth to mouth and pumping her chest. At one point he thought he had succeeded as Millie “let out a big mad gasp .... but stopped breathing again”.

He then ran to the house of a neighbour who took them both to the hospital.

The court has already heard that doctors suspect the youngster was already “brain-stem dead” by this time.

Millie was later transferred to Belfast, where she was officially pronounced dead in the early hours of December 11.

The court also heard from Fermanagh Church of Ireland rector, Rev Henry Blair, who travelled to Belfast to support the family, who said when McCarney was arrested in the Royal he was “very quiet and subdued” and as he was being led away in handcuffs, said to Rachael Martin, “It's not mine.”

The trial continues.

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