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Baby’s death leads to manslaughter charge

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William McLaughlin: accused of manslaughter after house fire

William McLaughlin: accused of manslaughter after house fire

William McLaughlin: accused of manslaughter after house fire

A mother and her ex-boyfriend have appeared in court accused of the manslaughter of her eight-month-old daughter.

Little Chelsea Agnew inhaled smoke and died from burns in a house fire in Enniskillen in August 2007.

The girl’s 26-year-old mother, Charmaine Agnew, from Drumbawn, Enniskillen, and William McLaughlin (25), from Florence Square, Belfast, deny manslaughter through gross negligence.

Dungannon Crown Court was yesterday told there would be evidence to suggest the fire was started by Chelsea's two-and-a-half-year-old brother, whom, it was claimed, had a fascination with cigarette lighters.

Prosecuting QC Margaret-Anne Dinsmore said both parents knew of the boy's interest in lighters. The fire began next to the baby's travel cot in a bedroom shared by the family. The trial is expected to last up to two weeks.

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