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Life must mean life for Millie Martin killer, judge urged

A “sadistic” child killer said to have gained satisfaction from the horrific abuse he inflicted on his 15-month-old victim should never be freed, it has been claimed.

Barry McCarney subjected little Millie Martin to weeks of torture before murdering the defenceless toddler in a brutal attack.

On Friday, a court heard claims that the sexual and violent abuse had been inflicted in an “evil and sadistic” way for no other motive than to gain some form of satisfaction. The comments were made during a hearing to decide the minimum term which McCarney should serve behind bars.

The court was told how McCarney maintains his innocence despite a jury taking only three hours to unanimously convict him last month of murdering the Enniskillen toddler.

He was also found guilty of sexually assaulting Millie and causing grievous bodily harm.

The 33-year-old — who has been told he will spend “a very long time” in prison — will be sentenced at a later date.

The prosecution has called for him to be given the highest sentence possible. One of the options available to the court is that McCarney would serve a full life term.

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Fermanagh-South Tyrone MLA Lord Morrow agreed that McCarney should never be freed.

“This was a vulnerable, defenceless child, and I cannot think of a more horrendous, savage and brutal crime.

“We were told when capital punishment was abolished that life would mean life, but sadly it isn’t the case.

“In this particular case, a life sentence should mean life. This man deserves to face the full rigours of the law — anything less will disillusion the public.”

The murder trial was told how McCarney subjected Millie to a multitude of other injuries in the weeks before her death.

The injuries, which included 21 cracked ribs, were so severe that experts said they resembled those sustained in a car crash.

Prosecuting QC Ciaran Murphy argued that he should be given the highest tariff available to the court.

Defence QC Eilis McDermott, while accepting that the murder of a child could attract a tariff of up to 20 years, said there was no evidence to support claims that McCarney had acted in a sadistic manner.

She said her client should only be sentenced for the crimes he had been convicted of.

Responding to comments from Mr Justice Stephens that McCarney had not expressed any remorse, Ms McDermott said he was still protesting his innocence for the crime.

The toddler’s mother Rachael, who was unanimously cleared of neglect, sat in the public gallery.

McCarney will be sentenced at a date to be fixed.


Millie Martin died on December 11, 2009, at a Belfast hospital from a fatal head injury inflicted by Barry McCarney. He was the partner of her mother, Rachael Martin. McCarney, from Co Tyrone, met Rachael three months earlier, moving into their home at Glebe Park in Enniskillen. The trial heard how McCarney physically and sexually abused the toddler, inflicting a number of fatal injuries.

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