Friday 15 December 2017

Childminder says baby not 'violently shaken' in her care

Accusations: Sandra Higgins. Photo: Collins Courts
Accusations: Sandra Higgins. Photo: Collins Courts

Fiona Ferguson

A childminder accused of causing serious harm to a 10-month-old baby told gardaí the child was not "violently shaken" or assaulted while in her care.

Dublin Circuit Court heard that Sandra Higgins (36) told gardaí during her interview that she drove the child to hospital after the infant suffered a seizure at her home. She said she had cared for the baby like her own children.

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

Detective Garda Linda Harkin told Alice Fawsitt, prosecuting, that she was made aware on March 30, 2012, there was a suspicion of non-accidental injury to a baby and she travelled to Cavan General Hospital to speak with the consultant paediatrician, Dr Alan Finan.

She said Dr Finan told her Ms Higgins had brought the child to hospital and had given an account of the baby having a seizure prior to her arrival.

The doctor told Det Gda Harkin the child had unusual bruising to her head, face and buttocks. He said there was evidence of a subdural haematoma and two healing rib fractures, estimated to be four weeks old.

Det Gda Harkin said she later got a report from Dr Finan and on April 13, 2012, arrested Ms Higgins at her home.

The court heard Ms Higgins told gardaí she had been minding the child since June 2011. She said the child was "treated like one of our own" and she had a good relationship with the child's mother.

She said there had been incidents of the child falling in her home. Ms Higgins said on the day of the incident the baby had two naps during the day and her cheeks were "flushed" when she was woken after the second nap.

The childminder said the infant fell forward, onto her side and then stomach.

Ms Higgins said the child vomited in the car on the way to the hospital.

She told gardaí the child had falls in her home but she had never assaulted her.

The trial continues before Judge Martin Nolan. There is a court order prohibiting publication of anything that would identify the child.

Irish Independent

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