Belfast Telegraph

Woman (30) accused of murdering baby boy in east Belfast 'suicide risk' - court hears

By Alan Erwin

A woman accused of murdering a baby boy in east Belfast is at risk of committing suicide, a court has been told.

Lawyers for the 30-year-old obtained reporting restrictions by arguing that publishing her identity could put her life in jeopardy.

A doctor treating the woman at medical care facilities also revealed today that her mental health has deteriorated since then.

Plans are now in place to move her to a medium secure unit.

The woman was arrested by detectives investigating the child's death following an incident in the city in March.

She was charged with murder and then detained under the Mental Health Act.

During her first appearance before Belfast Magistrates' Court last month defence lawyers secured a temporary ban on the press identifying her.

No media representatives were present at an initial heading to challenge the move, which was granted under the terms of the Human Rights Act.

It has now emerged, however, that the woman's legal team based their application on the right to life under European law.

Her lawyers submitted that if the media revealed her identity it would increase the risk of suicide.

The court, as a public body, has a duty to protect the defendant's rights, they argued at the time.

At a review of the case today District Judge Fiona Bagnall was informed of a press challenge to the interim reporting restrictions.

She listed that for hearing next month.

The defendant was not present in court for today's review.

Her solicitor Damien Trainor sought to have her further remanded into medical care for ongoing assessments.

He was backed by a doctor involved in treating the woman.

She disclosed: "My patient's mental state has deteriorated since I was last in court giving evidence."

Setting out plans to have the woman seen by a psychotherapist, the doctor added that a proposal was for her to "step up to medium security".

With a police file in the case due to be submitted by the end of June, Judge Bagnall agreed to a further four week remand under mental health legislation.

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