Baby who died was wrapped 'in dirty blanket', trial hears
- 19 June 2012
- From the section Glasgow & West Scotland
A child neglect trial has heard how a baby boy who died in hospital was removed from his home by ambulance staff while wrapped in a dirty blanket.
Paramedic Frances McIntosh told Glasgow Sheriff Court she found three-month-old Anton Morrison suffering a cardiac arrest at the flat in Glasgow.
She said his blanket was dirty and he had dirt under his fingernails.
The child's parents Ashley McDonald, 20, and Marc Morrison, 21, deny wilfully neglecting their son.
Mrs McIntosh told the court that she arrived at the flat in Kennishead Avenue, Thornliebank, in the early hours of 3 February 2011 after attending a call nearby.
She said Mr Morrison opened the door to the flat and they were shown to a bedroom where Anton was lying.
The court was told that a bad smell was noticeable from when the door was opened.
Mrs McIntosh said: "The baby was lying on his back with his hands above his shoulders, he had fluid in his mouth, he had no signs of life."
She added she drained the fluid from his mouth and confirmed he was suffering from a cardiac arrest and carried out CPR.
Procurator fiscal depute Michelle Tollan, prosecuting, asked: "How long did you carry out CPR?" The witness answered: "All the way to the hospital."
When asked if she noticed anything about the baby, Mrs McIntosh said: "I noticed the baby didn't smell very clean, his fingernails were dirty."
She also described the blanket used to wrap him as "dirty".
The paramedic began to cry and said: "The blanket was dirty, it was grey, it was a white blanket but it was grey."
Ms Tollan asked: "Is it dirt that was ingrained or was it fresh?" Mrs McIntosh said: "Both."
She also described a number of nappies discarded all over the floor in the bedroom and the hallway, saying it was noticeable because it was unusual, although said she could not be sure they were all used.
The court also heard from Marc Morrison's mother, 42-year-old Deborah Clark.
She said Anton was clean the last time she saw him on 29 January 2011 - days before he died.
Ms Tollan asked: "What did you think about the appearance of Anton that day?"
Mrs Clark said: "He was fine, he had a bit of a cough when he was crying you could hear, was as if he had a sore throat.
"I phoned Marc and Marc said it was the tube from his (hernia) operation."
She added: "He was fine, he was clean, he wasn't dirty or anything."
The court heard it was unusual that day because Ms McDonald had gone down to the bottom of the flats with Anton for him to be picked up but Mrs Clark went up to the flat later that day when she brought him home.
Mrs Clark told the court she was once given damp clothes in a bag when she took Anton out for the day as though they had not dried properly and had a smell of damp.
It was also heard the couple had a problem with damp in their spare room, that was not being used as a bedroom and that it had been reported.
Mrs Clark said that on the last day she saw him she noticed Anton's wound from his operation was a "bit weepy" and told her son about it, and they took him to the doctors to be seen.
The witness said she once said that Anton's feet were cold when she was in their house, and they put socks on him.
Ms McDonald's defence counsel Margaret Breslin asked Mrs Clark: "In relation to what you saw, there's nothing that caused you any concern?" She replied: "No."
It was then put to her: "In relation to the house, I think you had certain issues about the house not being tidy." Mrs Clark answered: "Yes."
Mrs Breslin asked: "As his grandmother and as nursery nurse yourself, had you noticed your grandson in a dirty condition do you think you would have mentioned it to your son or Ashley?" Mrs Clark answered: "Yes."
The advocate showed Mrs Clark Anton's blanket and she confirmed it was a cream blanket with a design on it.
She was asked if she could smell anything from it and said she could smell a "baby smell".
Ms McDonald and Mr Morrison are charged with wilfully neglecting their son between the date he was born on 24 October 24 2010 and 3 February 2011, the date he died.
They allegedly neglected the child in a manner "likely to cause him unnecessary suffering or injury to health" by allowing their home, in Thornliebank, to become dirty and covered with soiled nappies and domestic waste.
The pair are charged with "failing to observe appropriate hygiene and sterilisation procedures" in respect of Anton and causing him to lie and sleep in a dirty and unhygienic bed.
It is also alleged that they failed to administer prescribed medication or give the correct dosage to the baby for a surgical wound and infection of the wound and expose him to "the risk of serious infection and illness".
Ms McDonald, from Thornliebank, and Mr Morrison, from Sprinboig, deny the charge against them.
The trial before sheriff Stuart Reid continues.