TV death baby Kian McMillan's father admits neglect

Edward Hanratty
Image caption Edward Hanratty was released on bail until his sentencing on 31 January

A man has admitted neglecting his four-month-old son who died from "catastrophic injuries" when a television fell on his head in Burnley.

Kian McMillan suffered a brain injury in the incident on 6 December 2011.

The court heard Edward Hanratty, 41, was passed out on the kitchen floor through drugs and drink at the time.

Natalie McMillan, 25, pleaded guilty to child neglect earlier in the trial at Preston Crown Court but denies manslaughter by gross negligence.

The court heard how Ms McMillan, now of Dirkhill Road, Bradford, tried to move the television to plug in a scart lead so she could watch a DVD when it toppled off a cupboard.

It fell on to her son, who was lying on a mat on the floor. Kian was taken to hospital but died a day later.

Error of judgement

When giving evidence she claimed ex-partner Mr Hanratty was the person responsible for the television falling and she was upstairs in bed when it happened, having taken heroin and valium.

She said she decided to accept the blame on his behalf from the moment she made the 999 call from the address in Scarlett Street.

Prosecutor Suzanne Goddard QC said this was "nonsense" and that she was lying.

"She has to find a way out and the only way out now is to falsely accuse Edward Hanratty," she said.

Peter Wright QC, defending Ms McMillan, told jurors they were not being asked to determine whether his client was a good mother but whether she dropped the television and if she did, whether it was behaviour which was "truly, exceptionally bad" rather than a mistake or a serious error of judgement.

"A not guilty verdict is not a vindication of Natalie McMillan or a dereliction of Kian McMillan," he said.

She pleaded guilty to neglect over the circumstances that "tragically and avoidably" led to her son's death and would be sentenced accordingly, he said.

Mr Hanratty, of Dirkhill Road, Bradford, was released on bail until his sentencing on 31 January.

Ms McMillan is due back in court as the jury deliberates charges of manslaughter by gross negligence.

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