Child cruelty charges: Parents charged over injuries to four-week-old baby

By Sara Girvin
BBC News NI north east reporter

Image caption,
The couple face four child cruelty charges relating to the four-week-old and another of the couple's children

The parents of a four-week-old baby who suffered a fractured skull, brain injuries and broken ribs have been charged with child cruelty offences.

Amanda Fulton, 31, and her husband Christopher Fulton, 30, are charged over alleged offences on 7 November.

The court heard the baby is thought to have long-term brain injuries and be blind in both eyes.

The couple, from Rockfield Gardens, Mosside, County Antrim, face the same four charges.

They are accused of grievous bodily harm with intent, two counts of child cruelty involving two different children and causing or allowing a child to suffer serious physical harm.

The couple appeared at Coleraine Magistrates' Court on Monday to face the charges but a press ban prevented proceedings from being reported.

Injuries to another child

The ban was lifted at the court on Friday by a district judge.

A police officer told the court the baby was taken to a GP on 7 November before being rushed to hospital in an ambulance.

The infant was found to have a fractured skull, a bleed on the brain, a laceration to its liver and broken ribs.

The court heard the baby had now been taken off life support and was able to breathe for itself, but was thought to have long-term brain injuries.

On further investigation, another of the couple's children was found to have discolouration on the back of their skull and ear.

Image caption,
The case was heard at Coleraine Magistrate's Court

A police officer told the court the couple could not explain the injuries to their children, but accepted they had not been in the care of anyone else.

The officer said a medical expert believed the injuries to the baby were "non-accidental" and had not been caused during birth.

The officer said the fact some of the infant's rib fractures were healing led the medical expert to believe this was "not one isolated incident".

The police officer also told the court that a death threat, believed to be from a loyalist paramilitary group, has been issued against the couple threatening them if they leave prison.


The officer said there were "high tensions" in the Mosside area because of the case.

A defence barrister said the Fultons were "living every parent's worst nightmare".

He told the court threats had been made against the couple in Hydebank and Maghaberry prisons, where they are currently on remand.

The barrister also showed the court threats that had been made on social media against his clients.

On Monday, in court, the barrister said his clients had been "vilified" due to press coverage of the case and added they were entitled to the presumption of innocence.

He told the court the alleged baby victim had been born prematurely and weighed five pounds at birth.

Police objected to a bail application on the grounds of the risk of further offending, interference with witnesses and tensions in the Mosside area.

Bail was refused and the couple were remanded in custody.