Sunday 22 October 2017

Mother recounts how baby she is accused of murdering had to be prised from her

Antony Stone

A MOTHER accused of murdering her baby daughter broke down today as she described how a doctor was forced to prise her body away from her.

Michelle Smith, 33, sobbed uncontrollably as she relived pleading with doctors to allow her to hold 42-day-old Amy after she died.

Smith, of Swansea, South Wales. said she was allowed to cradle Amy's body for an hour.

The doctor who cared for Amy gave Smith and her husband an emotional hug as he broke the news that she was dead.

He then allowed the couple to sit in mourning with the baby for an hour until the body had to be taken away to a mortuary.

Amy was then posthumously baptised at the hospital. A card carrying her hand and foot prints and a hair clipping was created.

Several years later Smith was charged with Amy's murder when it emerged that she had been poisoned with a powerful adult painkiller.

The drug dihydrocodeine was discovered in Amy's blood when a post-mortem examination was carried out to determine the cause of death.

It also emerged that an earlier urine sample had tested positive for the same drug but the result was never passed to the baby's doctors.

Smith gave evidence for the first time today in an emotionally charged defence at Swansea Crown Court.

She denies a charge of murder and an alternative charge of causing or allowing the death of the child.

Amy died on November 9 2007 after being rushed to hospital. Paramedics called to her home in Morriston, Swansea, had been unable to revive her.

Hours earlier she had been seen by a health visitor who recorded her condition as "thriving".

The jury heard today that doctors battling to resuscitate Amy at Singleton Hospital managed to find a "slight heartbeat".

Smith said today that, as her hopes were briefly raised, consultant paediatrician Ingo Scholler explained that if Amy survived she would be brain-damaged.

Moments later Smith and her husband were told it was "pointless" continuing efforts to save Amy and the couple were asked permission to turn off her life-support machine.

Smith said Dr Scholler then placed Amy's body in her arms as the machine was turned off and the baby was pronounced dead.

"I had the top half of her body and my husband had the other half," she said hesitantly, stammering as she spoke.

"Dr Scholler hugged us both and said he was sorry. He still could not tell us what happened because he did not know."

She was allowed to cradle her dead daughter in her arms and the hospital chaplain was called so Amy could be baptised.

An hour later doctors returned to take the baby's body to the mortuary.

"I couldn't let her go," a tearful Smith told the hushed court.

"I was on the floor telling them they could not take her, she was my daughter."

Smith added; "She had gone very cold at this time but Dr Scholler and a nurse prised her from my hands and she was taken away to the mortuary. That was the last I ever saw of her."

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