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Injuries point to tragic baby being shaken, jury told

A BABY boy who died as a result of brain trauma had injuries which were "highly suggestive of a shaking incident", a murder trial has been told.

State pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy said the pattern of damage to Ross Murphy's brain suggested that the infant was held by the trunk whilst being shaken.

The pathologist has been giving evidence in the trial of Philip Doyle (34), of Tinakilly, Aughrim, Co Wicklow, who denies murdering his ex-fiancee's son Ross Murphy at their home in Creagh Demesne in Gorey.



Trauma

It is the prosecution case that the baby suffered a massive brain injury and had no vital signs when rushed to Wexford General Hospital on the evening of April 3, 2005.

In her evidence, Prof Cassidy concluded that the three-and-a-half month old infant died as a result of brain trauma, and he would not have recovered from such an injury.

She said such brain trauma would not be expected to occur accidentally or in a not yet mobile child.

She told the Central Criminal Court the baby had bruises to the right side of his head which were associated with bleeding around, on and inside the brain. The jury heard the damage to the brain was associated with swelling to the brain which was complicated by a lack of oxygen and blood supply.

Prof Cassidy also said the post-mortem showed the baby had suffered widespread blunt trauma to the body, right leg, hands and as well as to his head.

This included a patterned injury on his forehead which could have been caused by striking, or being struck by, a similar material, such as the covering of a sofa or a carpet. The pathologist said an injury over the child's right ear was "unusual" and could have been caused by the ear being pinched firmly.

She said the normal handling of a healthy child should not result in such bruising. She also said finger-tip type bruising on the abdomen suggested the trunk was firmly gripped.

In addition, there was internal haemorrhaging to the eyes, and this together with the bruising on the abdomen and the pattern of damage to the brain was "highly suggestive" of a shaking incident.

Prof Cassidy said it appeared the baby was "held by the trunk whilst being shaken".

She also said there were no obvious abnormalities to the child and it appeared he was healthy prior to this incident. She has not yet been cross-examined and she will resume her evidence before the jury of seven men and five women today.

hnews@herald.ie


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