Woman accused of child abuse moved to Hucknall to escape her abusive ex-partner, court is told

Nottingham Crown Court.
Nottingham Crown Court.

A woman facing charges relating to injuries sustained by her three-and-a-half-month-old daughter told a court how she moved to Hucknall to get away from an abusive ex-partner.

An X-ray of the baby’s skeleton revealed 30 fractures which were consistent with her being grabbed by the chest and shaken violently, as well as being held or swung by her hands or feet on four occasions.

The woman and her husband, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were jointly charged with causing or allowing serious physical harm to the baby girl between 19th September 2012 and 19th December 2012 - either by causing the harm themselves or by not being aware, or not taking reasonable steps to prevent, the risk of harm.

The woman denies harming the child or knowing that the child had been hurt.

The parents are not responsible for the child’s death, and the cause of death remains unknown.

Prosecuting, Sarah Gaunt, said: “We have heard evidence from several doctors that these fractures would have caused pain to the baby. There was severe fracturing of every limb, the clavicle, ribs and toes. In each case it would have caused crying for up to 30 minutes. And yet you are telling the jury you heard nothing, zero.”

The 34-year-old woman told Nottingham Crown Court on Tuesday, how her first husband died in 2010 and that a subsequent relationship ended when her partner breached restraining orders and was violent towards her.

She said that a criminal conviction for drink driving in 2010 came about as a result of the ex-partner breaking into her home.

The woman was also cautioned by police last year after she threatened to kill her current husband ‘if she found out that he had harmed their baby daughter’.

She gave birth to the baby, her second daughter, in August 2012.

A midwife told police the woman smelled of cigarettes and alcohol when she arrived at hospital to have the child.

But the woman denied she drank when pregnant because of severe nausea and said the smell could have been mouthwash.

Miss Gaunt said a neighbour logged 10 occasions when loud music was played at the woman’s home in the Ashfield area and told police that once she heard a baby’s cries being drowned out by the noise.

The woman said the incidents rose out of a dispute between her husband and the neighbours over a dog, and that her 24-year-old husband retaliated by playing the music.

The couple later moved to Hucknall hoping for a fresh start.

She told the court that her husband was helpful at first, but that he later ‘turned into a slob’ and the couple argued over ‘petty little things’ like housework. On one occasion, instead of painting their new home he wrote ‘I love you’ on the walls.

However, her husband shared the care of their children. She said: “I never had any idea in my head that there was any problem leaving him with the children.”

She described her daughter as a ‘normal baby’ who had ‘minor paddies’.

Breaking down in tears she said: “I would not wish this on my worst enemy. She was my beautiful baby. The day she came out of hospital I thought ‘Great. She is out of the danger zone.’”

She told the court that the couple had argued when she fell pregnant again and wanted an abortion, which her husband opposed.

Health visitors and doctors raised no concerns about the baby’s physical condition.

On the morning of her daughter’s death she said she got up twice in the night to feed her and saw the baby smile. She woke her husband to show him and went downstairs for half an hour. Her husband shouted for her to call an ambulance and tried to resuscitate the child because she was no longer breathing.

The case continues.