Social workers visited home of Burnley baby days before his death

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court
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SOCIAL workers had flagged up fears about the father of the Burnley baby boy killed when a television set fell on his head, a court was told.

Four-month old Kian McMillan suffered “catastrophic” brain injuries and died after a TV toppled on him at his Burnley home last year.

Preston Crown Court was told that concerns had been raised by authorities about the father Edward Hanratty (41) who had previously had two children removed due to neglect and was said to have drink and drug problems and issues with mental health.

But Kian’s mother Natalie McMillan, who moved back to Burnley from Yorkshire after giving birth, had assured social services that Hanratty was her ex-partner and had nothing more to do with his son at a meeting in August 2011.

Sharon Hibbs, a specialist safeguarding practitioner for Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “She told us she was no longer in a relationship with him (Hanratty).

“She told us he had visited a couple of times while she was in hospital but she categorically said she was not in a relationship with him.

“She said she had no intension of reconciling the relationship with him.”

Social services subsequently closed the case.

The court was told that McMillan, whose parents both died from “substance misuse”, was stable on a methadone programme and support workers said she was getting to grips with motherhood and bonding with Kian.

But in the weeks running up to the baby’s death the court was told that Hanratty had been seen at the address and the prosecution allege that he had been living there.

Sharon Hibbs said Hanratty’s presence was a “warning flag” and social services began a new assessment and visited McMillan just days before the incident which led to Kian’s death.

McMillan admitted that Hanratty had been visiting his son once a week for a nine-week period even though she knew about the concerns over the father.

But she had denied the pair were back in a relationship and denied he had been living at the house. She also denied she was injecting heroin again when questioned over bruising and swelling around the veins on her hand and arm.

Mrs Hibbs said that baby Kian had been “happy and smiling” during the visit but just four days later a television crashed down onto his head as McMillan was said to have tried to plug a scart lead in to watch a DVD. He died from serious head injuries the following day on December 7th, 2011. McMillan, of Clarendon Road, Leeds, denies manslaughter by gross negligence and child cruelty.

Hanratty, of Dirkhill Road, Bradford, denies child cruelty.