FATHER TO FACE DEATH CHARGE AFTER TODDLER DAUGHTER DIES IN HOSPITAL

Father of baby girl appeared at Craigavon Magistrates Court charged with causing her injuries

Father of baby girl appeared at Craigavon Magistrates Court charged with causing her injuries

A BABY girl who was admitted to hospital with suspected brain injuries has died.

Now her father is expected to be re-arrested and charged with causing the death of his young child.

The three-month-old had been critically ill since she was brought to the Royal Victoria Hospital in west Belfast on Wednesday from a house on the outskirts of west Belfast.

Christopher O’Neill, 23, of Glasvey Park in Twinbrook, appeared in court on Friday charged with causing her grievous bodily harm.

A police spokesman said detectives would be consulting with the Public Prosecution Service about the case.

He said a post mortem examination would take place in the coming days.

Earlier on Friday, family members wept as details of the case were outlined at Craigavon Magistrates Court.

A defence lawyer told the court that relatives on both sides of his family had made clear their support.

He said Mr O’Neill had been left alone with the baby girl on Wednesday morning.

The lawyer said the accused had found the child in some sort of medical distress and had “taken actions” to try to help her.

The court heard that Mr O’Neill later admitted to hospital staff that these actions had included shaking the little girl.

It was following this admission that the police were called and he was arrested.

The defence lawyer said that, during two days of questioning, Mr O’Neill had insisted his actions had seemed reasonable in the circumstances.

He said there was no eyewitness and the case would hinge on medical opinion that has yet to be provided.

Granting bail despite police objections, the judge said that Mr O’Neill had already been granted compassionate bail to visit his daughter in hospital.

The judge added that the original charge of grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent had been reduced to GBH.

Mr O’Neill is to appear in court again in Lisburn Magistrates’ Court on Monday, February 17.

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