Glasgow & West Scotland

Kimberley Hainey trial: Toddler death reason 'unclear'

Image caption The High Court in Glasgow heard the cause of Declan's death was not clear

The trial of a woman accused of murdering her 23-month-old son has been told that no-one knows why he died.

Pathologist Dr Claire Evans was giving evidence at the High Court in Glasgow, where Kimberley Hainey is on trial.

Under questioning, Dr Evans admitted there could have been a number of "natural causes" for Declan's death.

Ms Hainey, 37, of Johnstone, Paisley, denies murdering the child, concealing his body and pretending he was alive to avoid a police investigation.

The court heard that Dr Evans is a consultant paediatric and perinatal pathologist at Yorkhill Hospital, Glasgow.

Dr Evans and another pathologist, Dr Julie McAdam, carried out a post-mortem examination on Declan after his body was found in his cot at his home in Bruce Road, Paisley, on 30 March 2010.

He had been dead for months and his body was mummified.

Dr Evans told advocate depute Andrew Stewart QC that there was evidence that Declan had been fed prior to his death.

Toxicology reports showed that there were no drugs in the toddler's system.

Dr Evans was asked by defence QC Edward Targowski: "You just don't know what the cause of death was?" and she replied: "That's correct."

Mr Targowski added: "There would have been a number of natural causes that could have led to Declan's death that because of decomposition you could not be clear about?"

Dr Evans replied: "That's correct... meningitis, inflammation of the heart, pancreatitis - the list is very long."

Dr Evans was then asked: "It could well be there was a rapid infection that caused rapid death," and she replied: "It's a possibility."

'Sudden death'

Mr Targowski asked: "You may be left with a dead child and you can't say how he died?"

Dr Evans replied: "With a child under 18 months it could come under sudden death syndrome."

Mr Targowski then added: "There is a part of medicine that recognises this happens?" and she said: "That's right."

Dr Evan was then asked: "It is possible that a mother could put a healthy baby down to sleep and wake up and find the child has died?"

She replied: "In theory it is possible."

Mr Targowski then said: "In practice as well. It does happen," and Dr Evans said: "Yes."

Ms Hainey, is accused of assaulting, wilfully ill-treating and neglecting her son Declan over a 19-month period between 1 September 2008 and 30 March last year.

The Crown has charged her with either murdering her son or alternatively of neglecting him by failing to provide medical care for him whereby his physical and psychological development were impaired.

It is alleged that she left her son alone and unattended in the house for excessive periods of time, left him in wet and soiled nappies for excessive periods of time, caused him to be exposed to heroin and amphetamine, caused him to ingest these drugs and failed to provide medical aid and care for him.

The Crown also alleges that Ms Hainey pretended that Declan was alive in an attempt to defeat the ends of justice between 1 July 2009 and 31 March 2010.

She is also accused of possessing heroin and supplying heroin to Greg Irving in Renfrew, on various occasions between 25 December 2009 and 31 March last year.

She denies all the charges against her.

The trial before Lord Woolman continues.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites