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My daughter was 'fine that morning', mum tells shaken-baby claims trial


Sandra Higgins

Sandra Higgins

Sandra Higgins

A child-minder has gone on trial charged with causing serious harm to a 10-month-old baby.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard testimony from the infant's mother that her daughter was fine on the morning of March 28, 2012 when she dropped her to the home of Sandra Higgins (34).

Ms Higgins, of The Beeches, Drumgola Wood, Cavan town, has pleaded not guilty to intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to the baby on that date.

The court heard Ms Higgins had taken the child to the A&E department of Cavan General Hospital at around 4.30pm.

Sean Gillane, prosecuting, told the jury they would hear evidence that the baby was suffering active seizures and had extensive bruising around the face and head.

Opening the State's case, Mr Gillane said a medical expert will say that retinal haemorrhaging suffered by the child was consistent with violent shaking injury which was not accidental.

The baby's mother told the court that she went to the hospital after receiving a call from Ms Higgins who told her her daughter had had some kind of a fit or seizure.

"She said she was fine all day. She had a sleep. She had her tea. She just sat down on the floor to play and vomited and had a seizure," the mother said.

She said that when she got to the hospital her child was unconscious.

"I was very upset. I couldn't believe it. She had been fine that morning," she said.


She noticed the infant had a swelling between her eyebrows and asked the accused about this.

Ms Higgins told her the infant had been fine all day and said she had not fallen or bumped her head.

She told the mother that the bump between her eyebrows was from a different day, the court heard. The mother said she was sure the bump was not there that morning.

She said that over the next days the child was subject to a number of examinations and a doctor told her the baby had two rib fractures that were three to four weeks old.

There was also medical opinion that some of the in- juries were the result of violent shaking.

The court heard that in early 2012 there were incidents of the child having bumps and bruises.

Her parents were concerned that Ms Higgins "wasn't keeping a close enough eye" on the infant and began looking for an alternative child-minder.

After an investigation was launched, the mother told gardai that she was concerned that some of the entries in a child-minding diary kept by Ms Higgins had been changed or added.

She told the court that an entry about the child bumping her head on March 22 was not there before.

The trial continues.