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Pathologist claims baby death explanation "implausible"

Trial of man accused of killing his 14-week-old son in 2008 continues at Belfast Crown Court.

Image: rafaelmarquez via Creative Commons

THE TRIAL OF A MAN ACCUSED of murdering his infant son has heard evidence from a medical expert who described the man’s explanation for the baby’s injuries as “implausible”.

Ryan Leslie, 26, of Ballyvessey Green, Newtownabbey, is charged with grievous bodily harm and the murder of his 14-week-old son Cameron in September 2008.

He denies the charges.

Leslie told police his son banged his head on a plastic bath at his home.

The court heard earlier that the child suffered multiple rib fractures and blunt force trauma to his head, causing brain swelling.

Consultant pathologist Dr John McCarthy said he found severe haemorrhages in the baby’s eyes consistent with a severe head injury, and those were likely to have happened in the 12-24 hours before he was presented at hospital, the BBC reports.

McCarthy said there was a “significant” bruise on the back of the baby’s head, which was not noticed when the baby was first admitted to hospital. He said bruises on the baby’s body could have been caused by paramedics, but claimed that the suggestion the baby’s head injury was caused by him falling backwards in a plastic bath was “implausible”.

Yesterday, pathologist Archibald Malcolm told the court that the child’s 14 fractured ribs may have been caused by “severe gripping or squeezing”, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

Malcolm said the injuries, five fracture to the back of the ribcage and four to the front, had occurred between a week and 10 days before the infant died in hospital. He added that it is difficult to fracture an infants’ ribs and “fairly robust handling” would not cause fractures.

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