Parents of Burnley television death baby showed “no panic”

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THE parents of a Burnley baby whose head was crushed by a television set showed “no panic” despite their son fighting for his life, a court heard.

Four-month old Kian McMillan had suffered “catastrophic” brain injuries when the TV toppled onto him at his Burnley home last year.

A Preston Crown Court jury was told that the infant showed obvious signs of head trauma, was not breathing properly and had blood or spinal fluid coming from his mouth.

But paramedics told the court that parents Natalie McMillan (25) and Edward Hanratty (41) had not understood the severity of the situation on December 6th last year which was deemed a “red response” for a potentially life-threatening incident.

While Kian was being taken in for emergency treatment the pair were said to be smoking outside the Royal Blackburn Hospital.

The baby died the following day after the decision was taken to turn his life support machine off.

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

Edward Hanratty (41) also stands accused of child cruelty. Both deny the offences.

On the night of the incident, the couple’s behaviour was described as “erratic”, “disorientated” and “abnormal”. Hanratty, who the court was told had had two children previously taken off him by social services, was said to have been more concerned with having a cigarette.

Ambulance staff had to hurry the pair along several times before their son was rushed to the Royal Blackburn Hospital.

Claire Welsh, a paramedic for the North West Ambulance Service, believed the pair were on drugs and noted their slurred speech, half-closed eyes and unsteady walk.

She said: “They appeared to be heavily under the influence of an intoxicant – either drink, drugs, or both.

“They were both messing about. She seemed very disorientated. They didn’t understand the severity of the situation.

“She was asking if the baby was going to be alright, but the man seemed more concerned about going out for a cigarette at the time.”

Her colleague Craig Terry described the atmosphere as “very unusual”.

He said: “There was no panic. They were both very matter of fact about things.

“The lady became more upset about things. The man just wanted to go for a cigarette. He seemed more concerned with his own needs.”

As little Kian was being taken into intensive care, the pair were said to be outside smoking and had to be told to go inside by a police officer.

Both McMillan and Hanratty were arrested and questioned by police. The court was told that when McMillan was bailed she became aggressive with custody staff.

Suzanne Goddard (prosecuting) said: “Her main priority seemed to be getting cigarettes, a shower and a change of clothing rather than getting to her seriously ill son as soon as possible.”

Kian died from head injuries at the Royal Manchetser Children’s Hospital on December 7th.

(Proceeding)