Hucknall mother on trial at Nottingham Crown Court for tragic tot’s injuries

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The baby girl was born in 29th August 2012 - eight weeks prematurely and weighing just 3lbs and 5ozs, the trial was told.

A midwife noted that the mother smelled of cigarettes and alcohol at the birth, the court was told.

The baby was kept in the neo-natal department until she was discharged on 27th September 2012, when she had gained 2lbs and 7ozs.

Prosecutor Sarah Gaunt said that health care workers saw no sign of injury on the child, and that the father seemed to interact well with his daughter and that both parents shared the care.

However, a neighbour of the family, said Miss Gaunt, told police the parents were ‘constantly arguing and returning from the shops with alcohol. They seemed to be drinking more heavily after the baby was born and that they would play loud music.’

Miss Gaunt added: “On at least two occasions she heard the baby crying above the loud music and the music would be turned up to drown out her cries.”

On 8th November the baby was examined by a paediatrician and found to be putting on weight, the court was told.

Then on 29th November the 13-week-old baby was taken to a GP who conducted a 10-minute physical exam which found no marks or swelling, the court was told. A health visitor saw the baby on 3rd December and noted she was ‘unsettled’ but that her mother gave a ‘friendly impression’.

A visit on 17th December by a different health visitor noted the baby was again ‘unsettled’ but that the parents gave the impression of being loving towards the child. On this occasion the visitor noticed that a recycling bin was half-full of empty wine bottles, the jury was told.

In the early hours of 19th December the baby was fed twice. Her father awoke next to her and realised she wasn’t breathing.

At 10.30am an ambulance was called and the baby was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead.

A full-body X-ray of the baby body revealed fractures on both arms and legs, rib-cage and collarbone. Miss Gaunt told the court that experts were in agreement that none of the fractures could have contributed to death, there was no evidence of a fatal assault, nor of any underlying disease that would have made the baby more susceptible to fractures.

When interviewed by police, the mother denied inflicting any injuries. At a second interview she admitted to police that her husband ‘was a little bit rough when hugging the baby and she had told him not to hug her so tight.’

She told police the baby had had a bruise on her cheek and that she ‘had a go to him about it.’

In a third police interview she revealed that she had been unwell and a light sleeper, so her husband took over the night duties. She told police that if she heard the baby crying she would go downstairs where her husband was looking after her. She admitted the couple had been arguing more following the move to a new home.

She accepted that her husband could get ‘stressed’ while looking after the baby. Since the move he had been rough and she told him to stop. At a fourth interview she said her husband had punched a wall, but not injured anyone. She said he had hurt her when he pulled her to him. She told police she would never leave the baby with her husband when he was in a bad mood.

In a final police interview she admitted she ‘should have paid more attention but she let him get on with it.’ She described how her husband had picked up their daughter by the back of her clothes and that she (the mother) ‘went nuts’.

She said their relationship had been ‘brilliant’ in the beginning, but since the birth it had changed.

The mother denies the charges and the trial continues.