Burnley baby had ‘catastrophic’ injuries

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A BURNLEY mother who was “careless and drug-fuelled” is accused of killing her baby through gross negligence when a television fell on his head, a court heard.

Natalie McMillan (25) was said to be in no fit state to care for four-month-old Kian and had tried to change a lead in the TV when it toppled onto the baby last year, Preston Crown Court was told.

The infant was left with “catastrophic” head injuries and died later in hospital.

McMillan, formerly of Scarlett Street, is accused of manslaughter by gross negligence and child cruelty after the death of the child.

Edward Hanratty (41) the baby’s father, also stands accused of child cruelty.

Both deny the offences.

A trial jury a Preston Crown Court heard how heroin users McMillan and Hanratty were believed to have been under the influence of drugs when the incident happened on December 6th last year.

The jury was played a recording of a 999 call in which McMillan said she had been moving the TV set when it fell on the baby’s head.

The court heard that McMillan had tried to give the child milk but he would not feed.

When ambulance crews arrived they found the infant laid alone on the sofa with blood coming from his nose and had “obvious” head injuries.

The child was taken to the Royal Blackburn Hospital and had suffered “catastrophic” brain injuries and had to be kept breathing on a life support machine.

Tiny Kian McMillian, who had been born five weeks premature, died the following day after doctors said there was nothing more that could be done to save his life.

Both Hanratty and McMillan were arrested and questioned by detectives.

Blood and urine tests showed McMillan had heroin and diazepam in her system and Hanratty had traces of cocaine and heroin. A large bag of diazepam was found in a cot at the house and police also found syringes stashed in the kitchen.

In interview McMillan insisted she had been “perfectly sober” but later admitted she had used heroin the previous weekend. She maintained that she had been trying to plug a scart lead into the TV when it fell on her son’s head. But she later released a defence statement claiming it had been Hanratty that dropped the TV set while she was upstairs asleep.

Hanratty told police the pair had been to buy Diazepam with their son on the day of the incident and admitted taking two of the tablets along with heroin earlier in the evening which caused him to pass out on the kitchen floor.

He said McMillan had been “drowsy” and “semi-conscious”. He said she woke him up and he saw Kian on the floor and had to move the TV off him.

He described Kian as being “all funny” and said his eyes were not open.

McMillan then dialled 999.

Suzanne Goddard (prosecuting) said: “This was not a mere tragic accident.

“We say Natalie McMillan’s actions that night went far beyond mere child neglect.

“She had shown such gross and wilful indifference in her lack of care to him.

She said that McMillan had chosen to become intoxicated that night and had failed to ensure Kian was being looked after by a responsible adult.

“She left Kian on the mat near where the TV was. She failed to move him when changing the leads.

“There was an obvious risk it might topple over - that simple step of moving Kian would have saved his life.

“She showed careless indifference to the life of her child.

“The risk of Kian’s head and body being crushed by the TV was obvious and serious, and she ignored it. It was an entirely preventable death and an accident that should have never happened.”

Miss Goddard said that Hanratty had also been responsible for his son Kian.

“He should have ensured that Kian was properly looked after.

“On that night he knew, by his own admission, that he and she had taken Valium.

“Just one call to a relative could have ensured Kian was in a safe environment.”

(Proceeding)