Northern Ireland

Twinbrook baby death: Christopher O'Neill stands trial for murder

Christopher O'Neill denies murdering his three-month-old daughter Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Christopher O'Neill denies murdering his three-month-old daughter - pictured in 2015

A paramedic with over 30 years experience broke down in court as he described finding a baby girl with the "glazed look of a child not breathing".

He was giving evidence at the start of the trial of west Belfast man Christopher O'Neill, who denies murdering his baby daughter Cárágh .

Three-month-old Cárágh Walsh died on 7 February 2014.

She died two days after being rushed to hospital from her Glasveigh Park home in Twinbrook.

Mr O'Neill, 26, from Whiterock Road appeared at Craigavon Crown Court, sitting in Armagh, on Tuesday.

The court heard that the baby had been left alone in her father's care but within half an hour or so Mr O'Neill made a 999 call for help because she had stopped breathing.

Later, the rapid response paramedic revealed that he was just moments away when the 999 call came in and on arriving found a "distressed and agitated" O'Neill outside.

Under cross-examination the medic accepted it had been 'upsetting' and that Mr O'Neill was in an 'extremely distressed state', such as any father worried about an injured child would be. The medic also accepted that despite working on the infant for sometime, he noticed nothing unusual about her appearance, or of her being cut or bruised in any way.

The prosecution barrister said that O'Neill claimed, on differing occasions, he had just lifted the 14-week-old and shook her in an attempt to revive her.

However the prosecution said her condition deteriorated and she later died.

He also revealed that subsequent post-mortem investigations revealed that the infant not only suffered brain injury, but also had a number of fractured limbs and bruises.

They were not consistent with limited shaking, but were more akin to swinging by the arms and legs and with impacts on the child's head.

"The version of events, as put forward by Mr O'Neill, does not constitute a plausible cause of the injuries which Caragh received," said the lawyer.

He concluded by telling the jury it was not suggested that Mr O'Neill intended to kill his baby daughter, but that being unable to quieten her, he "must have lost self-control and that he caused those catalogue of injuries identified by the pathologists".

The trial, expected to last up to three weeks, continues on Wednesday.

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