Heroin-fuelled parents deny killing baby son after TV falls on him

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A “DRUG-FUELLED” woman from Leeds killed her four-month-old son through gross negligence when she knocked a large television set on to his head as he lay on his mat below, a jury has heard.

Natalie McMillan, 25, was said to be in no fit state to look after her son, Kian, who died from “catastrophic” brain injuries a day later in hospital.

The television toppled off a cupboard as she attempted to move it to plug in a scart lead so she could watch a DVD at the family home in Burnley, Lancashire, last December.

Kian’s father, Edward Hanratty, 41, was also under the influence of drugs at the time after he passed out on the kitchen floor earlier, Preston Crown Court was told.

Suzanne Goddard QC, prosecuting, said: “The prosecution case is that Natalie McMillan was not in any fit state to look after a child. She had taken heroin and valium and an amount of alcohol.

“She chose to become intoxicated to the extent that she was not capable of caring for her child in a safe and appropriate manner.”

Miss Goddard said the defendant was “careless and drug-fuelled”, and that no sober person would have failed to notice the dangerousness of a child’s head lying so close to a heavy television.

“Her needs were more important than her child,” she said. “The simple step of moving Kian would have saved his life.

“She showed careless indifference to the life of her child that night.

“This was not a tragic accident, every parent’s nightmare. This was an entirely preventable death. An accident that should never happened.”

The prosecution also said that Hanratty had a responsibility to Kian and that he too was in no fit state to look after him and should have ensured someone else did.

McMillan, of Clarendon Road, Leeds, denies manslaughter by gross negligence and child cruelty.

Hanratty, of Dirkhill Road, Bradford, denies child cruelty.

McMillan rang 999 in the early hours of December 6 to say she had been “messing around with the telly” when it had fallen.

She had noticed a lump on her son’s head and he was not feeding.

When paramedics arrived at the family home in Scarlett Street, the boy was unconscious and blood was coming from his nose, the jury was told.

Miss Goddard said several ambulance staff recalled both parents appeared to be under the influence of drink or drugs and were seen to stagger with their eyes closing.

A police officer followed the couple as they were taken to hospital by ambulance with their gravely ill child.

She too thought they were intoxicated and also said she had to tell them both “more than once” to come inside the hospital while they smoked cigarettes outside, said the prosecutor.

McMillan and Hanratty later agreed to switch off life support to Kian.

Miss Goddard said: “The extensive brain injuries were entirely consistent with a television set falling on the child’s head, causing bleeding on the brain, severe swelling and a lack of blood and oxygen supply.”

Both the defendants were arrested and drug tests later confirmed McMillan had taken heroin and valium close to the time of the fateful incident and that Hanratty had used heroin and cocaine in the 24 hours prior.

Hanratty later told detectives the pair had bought valium tablets before the television incident.

A police search found valium tablets in the baby’s cot, the jury heard.

Syringes, thought to be used to inject heroin, were discovered in a kitchen cupboard.