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Sasko Lazarov/

Childminder told gardaí baby was not violently shaken or assaulted

A doctor said the child had unusual bruising to her head, face and buttocks.

A CHILDMINDER ON trial accused of causing serious harm to a 10-month-old baby told gardaí the child was not “violently shaken” or assaulted while in her care.

Sandra Higgins (36) told gardaií during her interview she drove the child to hospital after the infant suffered a seizure at her home. She said she had cared for the baby like her own children.

Higgins of The Beeches, Drumgola Wood, Cavan town, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to the baby at her home on 28 March 2012.

Detective Garda Linda Harkin told Alice Fawsitt SC, prosecuting, she was made aware on 30 March 2012 that there was a suspicion of non-accidental injury to a baby and she attended Cavan General Hospital to speak with the consultant paediatrician, Dr Alan Finan.

She said Dr Finan told her the child had come into the hospital in the care of Higgins who had given an account of the child having a seizure prior to her arrival.

The doctor told Harkin the child had unusual bruising to her head, face and buttocks. He said there was evidence of a subdural haematoma and two healing rib fractures, estimated to be four weeks old. He said there was a bilateral haemorrhage behind her eye.

The child was no longer at the hospital at this time, having been transferred to Temple Street.

Harkin said she later got a report from Dr Finan and on 13 April 2012 attended Higgins’ home where she was arrested and taken to a garda station for interview.

‘In a trance’ 

The court heard that Higgins told gardaí she had been minding the child since June 2011, when she was six weeks old. She said the child was “treated like one of our own” and she had a good relationship with the child’s mother.

She said there had been incidents of the child falling in her home. She agreed with gardaí that she had completed “incident reports” for two earlier events only after the child was hospitalised.

Higgins told gardaí the child had been unwell in the weeks prior to the incident and had been on antibiotics. She said the child was quiet when her mother dropped her off.

She said the baby had two naps during the day and her cheeks were “flushed” when she was woken after the second nap. She said the child went “very quiet” and was sitting still like she was in a “trance”.

The childminder said the infant fell forward, onto her side and then stomach. She said her whole body was jerking all over the floor before she started to vomit.

Higgins told gardaí that after the seizure stopped the child started choking and gasping. She said her body was limp and cold. The child vomited again in the car on the way to the hospital.

She told gardaí the child had fallen in her home before, but she had never assaulted her.

After gardaí read the child’s injuries to her, Higgins told them ‘I never caused any injuries of any kind’. She denied suggestions of “violently shaking” or assaulting the child.

She told gardaí she was shocked at the allegations and when asked how she felt about the child’s injuries she replied “disgust and shock”.

The trial continues before Judge Martin Nolan and a jury of six men and six women.

Comments are closed as legal proceedings are ongoing.

Read: Childminder pleads not guilty to causing serious harm to a ten-month-old baby

Read: Paul Murphy ‘plainly involved’ in restricting Joan Burton’s liberty, trial told

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