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Little girl fractured her skull with bottle, father tells court

A man accused of fracturing his own baby daughter's skull claimed her bottle caused the injuries, the High Court was told.

Prosecutors said the 23-year-old, who cannot be named to protect the child's identity, told police he left her alone to get food.

A judge was told he later claimed to have accidentally struck the baby girl's head on a wall. The suspect faces a charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent over the alleged assault at a house in west Belfast on November 3.

He was granted bail but ordered to have no contact with either the child or her mother unless approved by social services.

Crown Counsel Nicola Auret told the court the man’s daughter had suffered significant facial bruising and a fractured skull.

She said the injuries occurred when the child's mother left her in his care for a short time.

“The applicant, when he was arrested, made an unsolicited remark that he left the child on the bed, had gone for a fry and when he came up the child's bottle had fallen on her face,” Ms Auret said.

With medical opinion said to question this explanation, the court heard the accused later alleged he accidentally hit his daughter's head against a wall before dropping the bottle on her head.

At his bail application concerns were raised over a proposal for the man to live with his parents elsewhere in the west of the city.

The judge heard of his previous mental health problems, which included at one stage cutting his own wrists, and ongoing problems with depression.

Ms Auret said social services believed it was too great a risk for him to stay at the house along with a younger brother and sister.

But Michael Boyd, defending, argued there had never been any previous concerns raised in connection with his client's siblings.

Mr Boyd also said the family home was miles from where the partner and daughter live.

In his ruling, Mr Justice Hart said: “On the one hand there is a clear prima facie case against this man of inflicting serious physical harm upon his defenceless child.

“As against that, he has a completely clear record and in all other respects appears to be a hard working young man.”

Granting bail, he said the accused's brother and sister were significantly older than the alleged victim.

But imposing the prohibition on making contact, the judge added: “He should be under no illusion, for example, that if he starts texting this lady it will be a breach of his bail.”

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