A couple are accused of shaking their ten-week-old baby daughter to death just days after she was discharged into their care against the wishes of hospital staff, a court has heard.
Lily-Mai Saint George had bleeding on the brain, multiple rib fractures, and a broken leg when she was rushed to hospital on January 31, 2018.
“It is the Crown’s case that these two defendants, Lily-Mai’s parents, were responsible for her death and that these fatal injuries were caused to Lily-Mai by forceful shaking shortly before that 999 call only six days after she had been discharged into their care”, said prosecutor Sally O’Neill QC.
Lily-Mai had been born prematurely at 31 weeks in November 2017, and spent the first two months of her life being cared for at Barnet Hospital.
Jurors heard Saint George admitted she “hated the noises which Lily-Mai made and wished she would cry instead of groaning”, hospital staff had noticed the new mother struggling to bond with her daughter, and the couple had been seen arguing.
A discharge meeting for Lily-Mai took place in January, and it was agreed that the little girl would go home with her parents – with a system of monitoring in place.
“Almost all of the professionals at the hospital were opposed to the baby being discharged into the parent’s care at home and had expressed their concern about the parents’ ability to meet the baby’s emotional, developmental and physical needs on many occasions to the Social Services”, said Ms O’Neill.
“Nonetheless, the decision was made to discharge the baby into the care of her parents and the hospital had to accept that and deal with the situation as best they could.”
The court heard Lily-Mai received specialist care for a range of medical issues until her discharge on January 25, 2018.
A 999 call was made by Saint George at just after 9pm on January 31, 2018, when she said “their baby wasn’t breathing, that she was premature, had anaemia and had gone white and floppy so she thought her anaemia had kicked in”.
“Darren Hurrell said that she had a heartbeat but wasn’t breathing and later that she was trying to gasp for air”, said the prosecutor.
Saint George said Lily-Mai “wasn’t responsive” and paramedics found the baby was pale with blue lips and nose.
The court heard Hurrell “said that he had picked the baby up from her cot because she was crying and her head fell back and she became floppy and stopped breathing”, said Ms O’Neill.
“He said he had performed CPR on her and said the baby had been pale and unsettled for a couple of days and not taking her milk properly.”
Lily-Mai underwent emergency treatment to try to relieve pressure on her brain, but had suffered bleeding and swelling. She died on February 2, 2018, and a pathologist then discovered 18 rib fractures and two broken leg bones.
“They were in keeping with suspected physical abuse”, said Ms O’Neill. “The conclusion of the pathologist was that this was an example of a fatal head injury of the shaking or impact type, and he concluded that the cause of death was head injury. The injuries were said to be in keeping with suspected physical abuse.”
Saint George, of Enfield, and Hurrell, from Alvaston, Derby, deny murder, manslaughter, causing or allowing the death of a child and cruelty to a person under 16 years old.
The trial continues.