Man and woman charged as baby found abandoned in city centre
A MAN and woman have been charged with child cruelty after a baby, believed to be about one-month-old, was found abandoned in Belfast city centre.
The infant, wrapped in a blue blanket, was discovered by bin men outside the CastleCourt entrance on Royal Avenue.
The circumstances remain unclear, but the baby was discovered last Sunday just before the shopping centre opened.
An ambulance was called and the child was treated at the scene.
Concerned shoppers looked on as the infant was taken to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.
A 41-year-old man and a 38-year-old woman have now been charged with child cruelty. The woman was further charged with possession of drugs.
The pair appeared at Belfast Magistrates Court on April 9 and released on bail.
The Ambulance Service said it had received a 999 call at 2.04pm on Sunday, April 7 following reports that "a baby had been injured following an incident in Royal Avenue".
"The NIAS dispatched an emergency crew to the scene and following assessment and initial treatment at the scene the child was taken by ambulance to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children," it said.
Belfast Deputy Lord Mayor Emmet McDonough-Brown said: "That a baby was left to fend for itself is obviously very shocking and I hope that he or she is OK.
"What it seems like to me is that if they are the child's parents, they are struggling and my heart goes out to them.
"I hope that they get the help and support they need to be better parents.
"I would urge any parent out there struggling to avail of the help services that are available to them."
The PSNI told the Belfast Telegraph: "A 41-year-old man was charged with child cruelty and a 38-year-old woman was charged with child cruelty and possession of a controlled class C drug.
"They were both due to appear at Belfast Magistrates Court on Tuesday April 9."
The pair are due to appear again in court next month.