South West Wales

Swansea murder trial mother Michelle Smith blames hospital

Michelle Smith
Image caption Michelle Smith denies murdering her 42-day-old baby daughter at home

A mother accused of poisoning her baby has told a jury how she cradled her for an hour in hospital after she died.

Michelle Smith, 34, from Swansea denies murdering six-week-old Amy Louise in 2007.

She is accused of giving the child a powerful adult painkiller but told the jury someone in a hospital must have administered it.

Mrs Smith broke down as she relived the last moments with her daughter, at Swansea Crown Court.

Giving evidence for the first time, she told the jury how she was allowed to hold Amy's body for an hour in hospital, where medics had battled to revive the child.

The infant had been rushed to Singleton Hospital where doctors had managed to find a "slight heartbeat".

Speaking in the witness stand on Friday, Mrs Smith said that, as her hopes were briefly raised, consultant paediatrician Ingo Scholler explained that if Amy survived she would be brain-damaged.

Moments later she and her husband Christopher were told it was "pointless" continuing efforts to save Amy and the couple were asked permission to turn off her life-support machine.

Dr Scholler then placed Amy's body in her arms as the machine was turned off and the baby was pronounced dead.

"Dr Scholler hugged us both and said he was sorry. He still could not tell us what happened because he did not know," Mrs Smith told the court.

"I couldn't let her go. I was on the floor telling them they could not take her, she was my daughter."

During her trial, the jury has heard that drug dihydrocodeine was discovered in Amy's blood when a post-mortem examination was carried out to determine the cause of death.

It also emerged that an earlier urine sample had tested positive for the same drug but the result was never passed to the baby's doctors.

Mrs Smith, from Morriston in the city, has also insisted she had not taken any medication during Amy's brief life.

Christopher Clee QC, prosecuting, cross examining Mrs Smith said: "You are not suggesting, are you, that Christopher Smith had something to do with this, are you?"

"No," Mrs Smith replied.

She also agreed that Gillian Davies, the health visitor, who saw Amy on the day she died, could also be excluded.

"So if it was not you it must have been someone else," Mr Clee said.

"Yes it was. In the hospitals," Mrs Smith answered.

"Either deliberately or accidentally," Mr Clee said.

"Yes," Mrs Smith replied.

Mr Clee said none of the several hospitals where Amy was taken had any record of ever "prescribing or administering" DHC to Amy.

Mrs Smith said: "I do not accept that," and went on to claim that while there was no record it did not mean it had not been done.

She also denies an alternative charge of causing or allowing the death of a child, and the trial continues.

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