Sunday 4 December 2016

Child-minder told gardaí baby wasn't shaken in her care

Declan Brennan

Published 18/06/2015 | 02:30

Sandra Higgins at court yesterday. Photo: Courtpix
Sandra Higgins at court yesterday. Photo: Courtpix
Detective Gda Linda Harkin: arrested Sandra Higgins

A child-minder on trial for assaulting a 10-month-old baby told gardaí that the infant was not shaken in her care.

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Sandra Higgins (34) also said that she cared for the baby girl like she was one of her own children.

Ms Higgins, of The Beeches, Drumgola Wood, Cavan town, Co Cavan, has pleaded not guilty to intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to the baby at her home on March 28, 2012.

On day two of the trial, Detective Garda Linda Harkin told Sean Gillane SC, prosecuting, that Ms Higgins was arrested and interviewed on April 13, 2012.

The registered child-minder told gardaí she was born in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, but had moved to Cavan and studied practical child care.

She started minding the baby from June 2011 and said that she treated her "like one of my own". She said the child's first walk was on February 27 and after this there were a number of falls and bumps.

She said that in March the baby was sick and was running a temperature and was sleeping a lot. On the date of the alleged assault the baby was better than the day before but was very quiet.

She said that morning they played for a while and the infant had a nap.

She had a sleep in the afternoon too and then Ms Higgins said she woke her and placed her down on the floor in the playroom. She told gardaí: "Her cheeks were flushed on waking. She went very quiet. She sat like she was in a trance. She sat looking at me.

"She went forward and back. She fell forward herself. She went on to her side and I remember she went on to her tummy. I remember her arms were stiff. Her whole body was jerking."

Asked about previous bruises the infant had received while in her care, Ms Higgins told gardaí: "I didn't assault [her]. She had falls. She had a seizure. She was never assaulted."

She admitted only filling out an incident report form in relation to a number of falls during March after the infant was hospitalised. She said she did this after a social worker advised her to go over the previous weeks and record "anything else that came into my head". She admitted failing to keep some records properly but denied creating records for a cover-up.

Irish Independent

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