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I never once suspected ex of abuse, says murdered toddler's mum

The mother of a murdered Enniskillen toddler said her former lover would not have been allowed in their home if she ever suspected him of sexual or physical abuse against the little girl.

Giving evidence for the first time at the long-running trial, Rachael Martin yesterday spoke of the events leading up to the death of her 15-month-old daughter Millie.

The 27-year-old mother said she never suspected her then boyfriend Barry McCarney of treating her daughter badly.

“If it ever entered my head, he would not have been in my house,” she told the jury at Dungannon Crown Court.

McCarney (33) denied murdering Millie in December 2009. He also denies sexually and physically abusing the toddler while he lived with her and her mother at their Glebe Park home in Enniskillen.

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

Martin, from Main Street, Kesh, denies wilfully neglecting and allowing the act which caused her daughter's death.

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Earlier yesterday McCarney, from Woodview Crescent, Trillick, declined to give or call evidence despite a warning from trial judge Mr Justice Stephens the jury may “draw such inferences (at his refusal) that appear proper for them to do so”.

Martin began her evidence by describing her developing relationship with McCarney, who began dating her after he'd sought her father's permission.

From the start she said their relationship was “good'' and that a “charming and loving'' McCarney “couldn't be nicer'' to Millie.

She described her daughter as “funny... she was clumsy... just a really good wee girl”.

Martin said one morning she found “an egg-shaped” bruise in the middle of the toddler’s forehead.

Some two weeks later she claimed McCarney called to her saying that Millie was blue around the mouth.

Martin said she then noticed a lump on the child’s head which McCarney claimed he hadn’t noticed.

Questioned about the night before Millie was rushed to hospital, Martin refuted McCarney's claims to police that the youngster was “limp” and “loaded with the flu”.

Martin maintained her daughter was “100%''.

It was while she was out buying chocolate for McCarney the following evening that he rushed Millie to hospital.

Martin said that she “couldn't believe it” when told by medical staff her daughter had been sexually abused. The trial continues.

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