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Mother jailed over baby's TV death

A woman who killed her four-month-old son when she knocked a five-stone television set on to his head while she was high on drink and drugs has been jailed for 15 months.

Natalie McMillan, 25, put her "self-indulgent drugs lifestyle" ahead of the welfare of her son Kian, who died from "catastrophic injuries", said the Recorder of Preston, Judge Anthony Russell QC.

The baby was lying on his changing mat at the family home in Burnley, Lancashire, when the defendant attempted to move the TV to plug in a scart lead and watch a DVD.

While giving evidence at her trial, she tried to shift the blame to the boy's father, her ex-partner Edward Hanratty, 41, and said she was upstairs in bed at the time. She denied she had been under the influence of drugs when her son died but tests later showed she had taken heroin and valium.

Hanratty had also taken drink and drugs and had passed out on the kitchen floor at their address in Scarlett Street on December 6 2011. Both pleaded guilty to child cruelty on the basis of neglect during their trial at Preston Crown Court last month.

McMillan, of Clarendon Road, Leeds, was cleared of manslaughter by gross negligence but Judge Russell said that he was satisfied it was she who actually moved the television through "foolishness". Hanratty, of Dirkhill Road, Bradford, failed to attend for his sentencing and a warrant for his arrest was issued.

Sentencing McMillan, the judge said: "Over the short life of your child it is apparent that both you and your partner gave priority to your selfish and self-indulgent drugs lifestyle and neglected the welfare of Kian.

"On the night he died, both of you were so intoxicated by drugs and alcohol that you probably forgot all about him with the tragic consequence that he died."

The judge said it was clear that McMillan had been concealing the extent of her drug addiction from social services and health teams for a long time. She also hid her relationship with Hanratty, who was known to social services for previous welfare issues with other children.

"Had you revealed the true position, it is at least a possibility that steps would have been taken to address those issues and that Kian's welfare might have been better safeguarded," said Judge Russell.


From Belfast Telegraph