'Ghosts' did not injure Millie

Published: 18 Oct 2012 17:35

Murdered toddler Millie Martin was not the victim of "ghosts" as her mother once allegedly "joked", but "the subject of repeated and severe" attacks by a real person or persons, a top paediatrician told Dungannon Crown Court today (Thursday).

Rachael Martin and inset Barry McCarney.

The English designated child protection consultant paediatrician, Dr. Katherine Ward, said she'd reached that conclusion "having considered the investigation, witness statements and medical reports" into the death of 15-month-old Millie from head injuries on December 11, 2009.

Millie's 27-year-old mother, Rachael Martin, from Main Street, Kesh, and her former lover, 33-year-old Barry McCarney, from Woodview Crescent, Trillick, face charges arising out of her death.

Martin denies wilfully neglecting and allowing the death of her daughter, while McCarney denies murdering and sexually and physically abusing her.

The jury of nine men and three women heard that Rachael Martin had once joked that ghosts may have been responsible for the repeated injuries to her baby daughter.

However, Martin's mother Mrs. Margaret Graham claimed, the remark had been made only as "a figure of speech".

Mrs. Graham was being cross-examined for a second day by McCarney's defence QC Elis McDermott, whose final question to the grandmother was, if she had heard her daughter "Rachael say that ghosts may have caused these injuries to Millie".

While agreeing that "there was jokes", she quickly explained that, "in a figure of speech, Rachael joked to me that may well be the case".

However, Dr. Ward was unequivocal in her opinion as to what had happened to Millie, who, in her words, had had "a very uneventful medical history and was being attended to appropriately ..... up until September 2009".

The court has already heard it was around this time, her first birthday, that she was first allegedly injured.

Dr. Ward told the court that "having considered the investigation, witness statements, and medical reports, I concluded that there is clear evidence that Millie was the subject of repeated and severe inflicted injury, which led to multiple injuries, including a fatal head injury".

During her evidence she claimed that many of the multiple sites of injury to Millie, were indicative to her, of non-accidental injuries.

With regard to the head injury which eventually lead to Millie's death, Dr. Ward said that the large bruising it left, would have been "associated with a memorable event, which would not have gone unnoticed", and that there was nothing to suggest in the child's history it was non-accidental.

The paediatrician added: "In my opinion this was the result of a blow from behind" and may have been caused by a "forceful blow to the child's head by a moving object, or the moving head hitting or coming into impact with an object".

However, the doctor admitted that forensically it was "difficult" to say which had indeed caused the fatal injury.

Earlier Ms McDermott had questioned Mrs. Graham about alleged discrepancies between what she'd said in evidence to the court and to police, and what she told a social worker.

Initially Mrs. Graham claimed she had "no recollection" of any meetings following Millie's death, and asked of Ms McDermott: "When was this?"

She later added: "I can't recall speaking to the Social Services to be honest with you."

However, after being shown some "documentation", Ms McDermott suggested there had been two separate meetings with social workers "about the events leading up to Millie's death".

Mrs. Graham seemed to remember something, while claiming that the meetings were not about "Millie though", and added that she did not really "remember much about it to be honest".

Ms McDermott then put it to her, she had told a social worker she did not "observe any injuries on Millie's body and you had no concerns about her presentation or her behaviour" the November weekend she'd looked after Millie.

Partially accepting the suggestion, she also accepted telling police and the court she had seen bruising on the infant, and that she was concerned for her granddaughter that weekend.

Mrs. Graham also agreed that when she asked her daughter, Rachael, about the bruising, she got "annoyed" telling her mother "do you think I did it?" before "leaving the room".

She also told a social worker she had not wanted to further annoy Rachael, so had said nothing about marks to Millie's private parts.

However, Mrs. Graham explained Rachael's reaction in terms of any normal "mother - daughter relationship" and while she may have been "stroppy" with her, she could not say how she would have reacted with others outside.

Later under cross-examination by her daughter's QC John McCrudden, Mrs. Graham described her daughter as an "excellent ... caring" mum who often "sought her advice".

She also told the lawyer that it "never crossed her mind" that Millie had fractured ribs, and also agreed she'd said to another social worker that she "never thought in my heart of hearts that he (McCarney) would have hurt her".

Mrs. Graham told Mr. McCrudden that her daughter never tried to "disguise by make-up" nor had she attempted to hide anything about Millie and was always open with her.

The case continues.

Jump to first paragraph.

Get more stories from our Roundup section

17 Apr 2014 19:00 • Rodney Edwards

#fermanaghspake This Week is...

‘I’m not half well’

Social: Comments0 comments

17 Apr 2014 18:06 • Rodney Edwards

Would-be Unionist polictician admits Catholic Facebook question was 'badly worded'

A would-be politician seeking a seat in the new Fermanagh and Omagh Council for the Ulster Unionist Party has defended himself for a second time following comments he made on Facebook.


17 Apr 2014 17:01

Fermanagh's 'different breed' that sets the Orange Standard

Let me get the amateur sociology out of the way first: ‘Out-group homogeneity’. It describes a bias that any group of people are prone to have.


17 Apr 2014 16:30

Why are you 'punishing a good school'?

The proposed Development Proposal to close both Enniskillen Collegiate School and Portora Royal School and open a new school on a split site, will go before the members of the Western Education and Library Board on May 8 for approval.


17 Apr 2014 15:57

Meeting exposed WELB's 'weak process and weak argument' says Collegiate head

THE Collegiate Grammar School’s consultation meeting on its proposed amalgamation with Portora Royal exposed the Western Education Library Board’s (WELB) “weak process and weak argument”, according to principal, Elizabeth Armstrong.


17 Apr 2014 15:14

Collegiate parents walk out after rudeness of WELB official

PARENTS of Collegiate Grammar School have accused Western Education Library Board (WELB) officials of hiding their personal vested interest in a proposal that would see the school merge with Portora Royal next year.


17 Apr 2014 14:29 • Meadhbh Monahan

Angry homeowners duped by rogue driveway worker caled Roadstone

HOMEOWNERS in Enniskillen are “disgusted” with workmen who took hundreds of pounds for cleaning their driveways, but never finished the job.


17 Apr 2014 14:06

Enniskillen by-pass could start in four years says Minister

WORK on the long-awaited Southern by-pass of Enniskillen could start in four years’ time but only if the millions needed for the scheme can be found, Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy has said.


17 Apr 2014 13:11

No referendum on fracking at Council elections

Fermanagh District Council is unlikely to hold a fracking referendum after legal advice has recommended against it.


17 Apr 2014 13:01

Woman who tried to give man love bite guilty of sexual assault

A 47-year-old woman has been convicted of sexually assaulting a young man after she allegedly “forced” herself on him, grabbing him by the bum and telling him she loved him.


17 Apr 2014 11:45

St. Patrick's Day crash led driver to court

A 42-year-old driver who failed to stop after crashing into a car on a bridge on St. Patrick’s Day was three times the legal alcohol limit.


17 Apr 2014 10:00 • Editorial Department

Inside today's paper

Clerics attend Queen’s banquet: Praise for their cross-community work

Social: Comments0 comments

17 Apr 2014 09:48

Sharpe names Premier 18 for Milk Cup

Fermanagh Premier Milk Cup manager Derek Sharpe has named his 18 man squad for this summer's competition.


17 Apr 2014 09:15

Men arrested in connection with security alert charged with theft

THE two men arrested in connection with a security alert in Fintona on Tuesday this week have been charged with Theft and Going Equipped for Theft


17 Apr 2014 09:00

Schoolgirl chef makes it to Fine Dine final

A local pupil has been named a finalist in this year's Fine Dine at Mine All-Ireland Schools Cookery Competion.


16 Apr 2014 22:30 • Editorial Department

In tomorrow's Impartial Reporter read:

How a woman has been convicted of sexually assaulting a man after touching him and trying to give him a love bite.

Social: Comments0 comments

16 Apr 2014 19:30

Arrest warrant for convicted shoplifter

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a 33-year-old convicted shoplifter.


16 Apr 2014 17:00

Driver convicted of possession of drug after cannabis was found in car

The 32-year-old driver of a car from which there was a strong smell of cannabis has admitted unlawfully having the Class B drug.


16 Apr 2014 15:00 • Editorial Department

Comment - Shona Morrison - Feeling blue over the lack of support for autism awareness

Our wee county of Fermanagh has a great deal going for it right now.

Social: Comments0 comments

16 Apr 2014 12:20

Police probe confrontation between cyclists and motorist

A man was reportedly assaulted during a confrontation between a motorist and a group of cyclists on the Sligo Road in Enniskillen.