Tuesday 26 March 2019

Dad 'did all he could' to save dying son - court told

John Tighe has pleaded not guilty to murdering his baby. Photo: Collins Courts
John Tighe has pleaded not guilty to murdering his baby. Photo: Collins Courts

Eoin Reynolds

A father accused of murdering his baby son told gardaí: "I did all I could," as his child was dying in his arms.

The jury in the trial of John Tighe heard from statements the accused made to gardaí in 2013 and 2014 following the death of his six-month-old son Joshua Sussbier Tighe.

Mr Tighe (40), of Lavallyroe, Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo, has pleaded not guilty to ­murdering Joshua at his home on June 1, 2013.

He is on trial at the Central Criminal Court.

Detective Ken Waldron told prosecuting counsel Patrick Reynolds BL that Mr Tighe gave a voluntary interview under caution at his home on June 12, 2013, and at Claremorris garda station on June 11, 2014.

He told gardaí the evening before Joshua died he ­collected the baby from his mother ­Natasha, as they shared custody.

The baby awoke at 8.20am the following day crying for his bottle so Mr Tighe fed him, winded him and put him on the bed.

Describing the minutes before the fatal incident, Mr Tighe said he prepared the baby changing area by taking out a nappy and three or four wipes.

When everything was laid out he took Joshua and put him on the changing mat.

He told gardaí he definitely used baby wipes to clean Joshua and may have used one or two pieces of tissue paper, which he said he would use to dab Sudocrem onto the child's nappy rash.

Usually he would scrunch those things up and put them in the fire place but on this occasion "didn't get that far".

After he had changed the nappy he suddenly needed to go to the toilet.

He was gone no more than five minutes, he said.

When he returned Joshua seemed "calm enough", but when Mr Tighe put the baby on the couch he noticed he was quiet and then fell to one side.

He sat the child up and noticed that he was blue, his breathing wasn't normal and he appeared to be choking on a baby wipe or tissue.

He called emergency services and they told him to tap the child on the back and front and then to try to remove the obstruction with his fingers.

He said he could feel something slimy and wet but all he could see was that there was an obstruction.

He told gardaí: "I was in bits. My boy was dying in my arms. I could have sat there looking at him, but I didn't. I did all I could but to no avail."

The trial continues today.

Irish Independent

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