McCarney guilty of baby Millie murder

Millie Martin died from brain injuries in December 2009.

A Co Tyrone man has been found guilty of the murder and sexual assault of baby Millie Martin, while the child's mother has been cleared of allowing her death.

Tuesday, 04 December 2012
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(VIDEO GUIDANCE: Video contains CCTV footage which viewers may find distressing.)

Baby Millie died from severe injuries to the brain on 11 December 2009, aged 15 months old.

Her mother Rachael Martin, from Main Street in Kesh, and her 33-year-old ex-partner, Barry Michael McCarney of Woodview Crescent, Trillick, denied charges arising from her death.

It took the jury at Dungannon Crown Court just under three hours to reach their unanimous verdicts on Tuesday, which were greeted with muted cheers by family and friends of Ms Martin.

They found McCarney guilty of murder, sexual assault and grievous bodily harm, while Rachael Martin was cleared of allowing her daughter's death and cruelty to her daughter.

Mr Justice Stephens told McCarney his crimes were "despicable" and "almost beyond understanding". The judge issued McCarney with a mandatory life sentence and notified him that he would be put on the sex offender's register.

He told him he would be spending a long time in prison.

McCarney displayed no emotion in court as he was convicted in court.

Rachael Martin sobbed uncontrollably in the dock as the verdict was read out, saying: "Thank you, thank you, justice has been done for my daughter".

We are all happy that the nightmare is finally over and we can all, particularly Rachael of course, go back to something resembling a normal life.

Matthew Martin

During the ten week trial, the court heard how baby Millie suffered a multitude of injuries and was sexually assaulted before she suffered a fatal blow to her head.

Medical experts detailed how she had 21 fractured ribs, seven of which were old, while a further 14 were fresh injuries, as well as other internal injuries which could have proven just as fatal.

Throughout the 35 days of evidence and legal argument, McCarney never spoke and refused to testify in his own defence.

A tariff hearing will be held in the New Year to determine how long he must serve in prison.

Outside court, Ms Martin's brother, Matthew, speaking on behalf of the family said her acquittal was the outcome "we had expected".

He said: "Rachael can now properly be allowed to grieve free of the shameful innuendo that has surrounded her as a result of the polices' shocking, shocking decision of bringing charges against her in the first place instead of allowing her to grieve for her first child.

"Whilst she is happy to be finally allowed to be left in peace and to put her life back together, she would like to point out that the conviction of that disgusting individual, that cretin, and her justified unanimous acquittal of the charges brought against her, are not a victory, but merely justice, justice for herself after her three-year waking nightmare and finally justice for baby Millie who will be missed, loved and remembered."