Hucknall woman on trial accused of causing injuries to her baby daughter in the weeks before she died

Nottingham Crown Court.
Nottingham Crown Court.

A Hucknall woman has gone on trial accused of causing injuries to her her three-and-a-half-month-old daughter in the weeks before the baby died.

An X-ray revealed 30 fractures, which experts say were non-accidental and some of which occurred hours before she died, a court was told.

A jury at Nottingham Crown Court was told by an expert witness on Tuesday how the injuries to the baby’s rib-cage, arms and legs were consistent with her being grabbed by the chest and shaken violently - as well as being held or swung by her hands or feet on four occasions.

The parents, who cannot be named for legal reasons, are not responsible for the child’s death and the cause remains unknown. Both parents were jointly charged with causing or allowing serious physical harm to the baby girl between 19th September 2012 and 19th December 2012 - either by causing the harm themselves or by not being aware, or not taking reasonable steps to prevent, the risk of harm.

The father has admitted the charge and a date has yet to be set for his sentencing.

Prosecuting, Sarah Gaunt, said: “The baby would have screamed or cried out in pain for a period of up to 30 minutes after the injuries and would have had non-specific irritability when the site of the injury was disturbed.

“It defies common sense that within the confines of a small house that a parent wouldn’t have been aware of this.”

She told the jury they had to decide if the 22-year-old mother of the baby caused the injuries, either individually or acting with the father, or knew of the injuries and failed to protect the baby, or, if under the circumstances, she ought to have known about the risk and failed to take steps to protect the baby.

Miss Gaunt said: “The baby was seen on several occasions by health care professionals and no concerns had been noted. They formed the impression that the parents were loving parents.”

She added a consultant paediatrician noted that the injuries could have been missed because ‘the symptoms can be non-specific.’

There were also several cancelled health care appointments ‘probably at points when more general injuries would have been apparent.’

Miss Gaunt said: “The mother did not make any significant report of any of those injuries during this period to any health care professionals.”

When interviewed by police she gave ‘no credible explanation’ of any of those injuries.

Jurors were shown a computer diagram of the child’s skeleton which showed 30 fractures over 10 locations.

Prof Anthony Freemont, of Manchester University’s NHS Hospital, examined portions of the baby’s arms, legs and rib-cage and told the jury that the injuries had been inflicted on four occasions.

They were between one to two weeks; two to four weeks, three to five weeks and between six and 24 hours before the baby’s death.

The mother denies the charges and the trial continues.