independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Killer of toddler must serve at least 25 years in prison after ‘sadistic sexual assault’

A MOTHER whose sex offender ex-boyfriend murdered her infant daughter has branded his 25-year prison term too lenient.

Co Tyrone labourer Barry McCarney was today given the life sentence tariff in Belfast Crown Court for the murder of 15-month-old Millie Martin in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh in 2009.



The toddler's mother Rachael said her former partner deserved a harsher punishment.



"I don't think it was long enough," Ms Martin said outside court.



"Twenty five years isn't long enough."



Her mother and Millie's grandmother Margaret Graham said 33-year-old McCarney, who was not the child's father, should never be freed.



"It wasn't long enough - life should be life," she said.



"He should never see the light of day again. We won't ever see Millie, her mummy won't ever see her wee daughter and life should mean life."



But McCarney's father Kevin insisted he was innocent of the murder and would be appealing against the verdict.



"We will be appealing the case and we know he will be proved innocent," he said.



In setting the minimum term McCarney must serve of his life sentence, Mr Justice Ben Stephens explained that the sentencing framework in Northern Ireland was very different to that in England and Wales, where a whole life term could be handed down.



He said the offence was serious enough to use the upward starting point guide of 15 to 16 years.



Explaining that aggravating features, among them the vulnerability and fragility of the victim, required him to make a "substantial upward adjustment", he told McCarney he would have to serve at least 25 years.



The judge described him as a "deeply manipulative individual devoid of any regard for social norms".



"You perceived Millie to be yours to abuse when opportunity presented," he said.



At an eight-week trial last year, jurors unanimously found McCarney guilty of the toddler's murder in December 2009.



He was also found guilty of grevious bodily harm with intent and sexual assault.



For those respective offences, Justice Stephens today gave him a life sentence with a six-year minimum tariff and an indeterminate sentence with a two-year minimum. Those terms will run concurrently with his murder tariff.



Once the 25-year term is spent, McCarney can only be released, on licence, if parole commissioners deem he no longer presents a danger to the public.



McCarney, clean shaven and dressed in a grey jumper, showed little emotion as the judge delivered his sentencing decisions.



The judge told him he had murdered the child in a spontaneous act in response to her cries of pain as he inflicted a "sadistic" sexual assault on her.



McCarney moved in with Rachael Martin at her home in Glebe Park in Enniskillen three months before Millie died. In that period the toddler suffered a range of injuries.



The judge said McCarney had duped Ms Martin into believing he cared for Millie and she was therefore willing to leave her daughter alone with him.



"You gained the total trust of Rachael Martin, you appeared to her to be very good to Millie," he said.



On the night the toddler sustained the fatal injuries, McCarney had persuaded his girlfriend to go out to a shop to buy him a chocolate bar.



Justice Stephens said he was already on his way up the stairs with the intention of sexually abusing the young child in her bed as Ms Martin was reversing her car out of the driveway.



The judge said McCarney had struck Millie's head on a hard surface in response to her cries as he inflicted a brutal sexual assault. That head injury would ultimately kill her.



McCarney, from Woodview Crescent, Trillick, Co Tyrone, brought the child into the Erne Hospital in Enniskillen, where she died the following day.



At the trial last year, Ms Martin was acquitted of charges of allowing her daughter's death and cruelty through wilful neglect.



She looked on from the public gallery of court 13 during this morning's hearing. Behind her sat her mother Mrs Graham and stepfather Noel Graham.



Relatives of McCarney watched from the other side of the gallery.



Outside court, Mr Graham said he was pleased McCarney, who he described as a "scumbag", would be off the streets away from women and children.



"We have been dealt a life sentence which will never go away," he said.



On McCarney's protestations of innocence, Mr Graham added: "If he had have been half a man he would have gone into the court and told the jury (the truth) and didn't leave everything unanswered."

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