Northern Ireland

Millie Martin's mother says daughter was fine when she put her to bed

Millie Martin
Image caption Millie died a day after she was admitted to the Erne Hospital with serious injuries

The mother of Millie Martin told police the toddler was alright when she put her to bed shortly before she was brought to hospital in a lifeless condition.

A transcript of the police interview she gave the day after her daughter died on 11 December 2009 was read out in Dungannon Crown Court on Thursday.

She is on trial accused of allowing the death of her child.

Her former partner Barry McCarney is accused of murder and sexual assault.

Both deny the charges.

The court heard that Ms Martin gave police an account of what happened on Thursday 10 December, the day Millie was taken to hospital.

She said Millie was drowsy that morning but later picked up again.

She said although her daughter was sleepy she was "still giving me smiles".

The mother said she thought her toddler was getting the flu.

She said: "I just thought she was exhausted from playing. I put her to bed, gave her a kiss and a hug, and she was alright."

Rachael Martin also described Millie's bedtime routine to the police.

"I gave her a kiss and a cuddle and down she goes. She was sleepy. She was still alright. She gave me a smile. That was it."

She said both she and Barry decided they wanted chocolate with a cup of tea so she drove to the local shop.

Ms Martin said she was away "literally minutes".

When she got back the side door was open and she had a missed call on her mobile. She said the phone rang and it was Barry saying "quick, quick get to the hospital the child's not breathing".

Millie had been taken to the Erne Hospital in Enniskillen by her mother's then partner Mr McCarney.

Ms Martin said at the hospital she was in hysterics. She was told Millie could have had a fit as she had a couple of bites on her tongue.

Doctors later told her about other marks on Millie's body and that she had been sexually assaulted.

"I couldn't believe it," she told police.

She was asked how this could have happened. "I don't know. I was physically sick to the core. My parents... we were all devastated."

The toddler died the next day from severe head injuries.

Rachael Martin rejected suggestions that she was covering for anyone. Although she loved Barry McCarney, she said nothing was more important in her life than Millie.

"She was my life. She still is," she told police. She was asked if she would do anything for Barry McCarney. "No," she insisted.

She said she was "physically sick to the core" when told that Millie had been sexually abused. The family was "devastated" and she didn't know how it could have happened.

She said she had no explanation for Millie's injuries, including a number of broken ribs about a week old.

She just thought that Millie was "extremely clumsy" and said "she's always falling over stuff".

On Wednesday, transcripts of Mr McCarney's police interview notes were read out in court.

He said he had tried his best to resuscitate the toddler after finding her "completely lifeless" in her cot and said he had absolutely nothing to do with her death.

Mr McCarney said he was "shocked and disgusted" when police told him of the multiple injuries found on the toddler's body after her death.

He denied he had caused any of the injuries.

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