Belfast Telegraph

Millie's mum sobs in court as consultant describes moment she was told tot couldn't be revived

By Michael Donnelly

The mother of Millie Martin wept silently in court as she heard evidence from a doctor about her baby daughter’s death.

Rachael Martin sobbed as a consultant paediatrician described how the toddler, described as being “a dancer” at home just the day before, had turned limp when she treated her in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital.

Ms Martin’s former partner, 32-year-old Barry Michael McCarney from Woodview Crescent, Trillick, denies the child’s murder.

Ms Martin wept again, as did her own mother Margaret Graham sitting just feet behind her in the public gallery, as Dr Mairead McGinn told how both became distressed on being told Millie was brain dead and could not be revived.

Dr McGinn said at this point Rachael turned to her mum asking: “How am I going to live without her?”

The former couple facing charges linked to the death of Millie Martin showed emotion for the first time as their Dungannon Crown Court trial entered its second week.

Both cried silently as further evidence unfolded surrounding the 15-month-old’s death from head injuries after being rushed to Co Fermanagh's Erne Hospital on December 11, 2009.

Millie's 27-year-old mum Rachael, from Main Street, Kesh, denies wilful neglect and allowing her death. Earlier McCarney buried his head in his hands as the court was shown a CCTV clip of him running into the Enniskillen hospital‘s A&E department with Millie wrapped in a blanket.

When the footage showed the youngster lying with her mouth gaping open in his arms, McCarney sat in the dock wiping silent tears from his eyes. Others in the public gallery also wept as the silent film was played out.

CCTV footage also showed that as McCarney was rushing Millie to hospital, her mother was going into a Spar shop at Chanterhill to buy a bar of chocolate, unaware of the peril her youngster was in.

Dr McGinn, in her evidence, said that when transferred from the Erne to the Royal, staff there felt Millie was already brain dead. When she questioned why an intensive care bed was needed for the infant, the doctor was told there were concerns about possible physical and sexual abuse of the youngster.

Dr McGinn said she later examined Millie herself and found bruising to the groin area, suggesting sexual abuse.

The doctor added that she ascertained that baby Millie was not sedated and during her examination there was “no spontaneous movement... she was floppy... no response at all... cold to the touch”.

“I felt that Millie was brain stem dead,” said Dr McGinn, and the youngster had “no chance of survival”.

Earlier McCarney's defence QC Eilis McDermott said it was accepted that Millie's injuries had been deliberately inflicted, and were non-accidental.

The concession came following the evidence of consultant Professor Archibald Malcolm who told the court of a specialised post-mortem examination of seven of Millie's ribs, where they were placed in a rubber solution and then cut in sections smaller than the width of a human hair.

Prof Malcolm said the ribs showed no sign of disease, but did show evidence of healing fractures, which he estimated were up to four weeks old.

He said it was difficult to cause rib fractures to a youngster of 15 months, and in his opinion the injuries, akin to something a child strapped in a car seat would suffer in a road traffic accident, had not been accidental.

Prof Malcolm said considerable force would have to have been used to cause the injuries, possibly by squashing, gripping or squeezing the child's rib cage. One fracture, that to a back rib, he added, could only have been caused in this way. The trial continues tomorrow.

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