Kettering murder trial: Accused storms out of dock as victim’s mum gives evidence

A man accused of killing his fiancée’s baby stormed out of the dock today as his tearful partner told a court of the moment she cradled the dying tot.

Wednesday, 16th January 2019, 2:22 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 4:20 pm

Ryan Coleman called out “I can’t take this” and left the court as the mother of the one-year-old girl gave evidence at his murder trial.

The 23-year-old is accused of killing the girl after causing “car crash-like” injuries which were among the worst a doctor had ever seen.

Birmingham Crown Court.

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The tot died three days after being found unconscious at the couple’s property in Kettering, on April 26 last year.

A court heard Coleman had subjected the girl to a “deliberate and violent” assault leaving her with more than 31 injuries including multiple bruising and bleeds on the brain.

However, the defendant claims the youngster died after falling off her toddler bed while he was folding clothes.

Giving evidence today, the girl’s mum said her partner smoked cannabis on a daily basis and had seemed “moody” on the day he is accused of battering her to death.

She broke down in the dock at Birmingham Crown Court as she described the moment she found her baby “gasping for breath” at the property she shared with Coleman.

Fighting back tears she said: “I heard from him [Coleman] at 9.04am in a call that lasted 24 seconds.

“He said that [my daughter] had fallen off the bed, hurt her neck and wasn’t responding.

“I left work straight away and called the emergency services - my baby wasn’t breathing so I needed someone to get to her.

“When I got there my initial thought was to get her - Mr Coleman was at the door with her.

“I held her with my hands on her bottom the back of her head. She looked as if she was dead, she was really pale, she wasn’t moving.

“Her arms were just flopped out - she was making gasping noises. She would pause for about five or 10 seconds between each gasp.

“I made a second call to the emergency services. When I held her I gently moved her to try and wake her up and I kept saying her name.”

It was at this point Coleman left the dock and returned to the cells.

The harrowing 999 call made by the girl’s mum to emergency services was also played to the court in which she could be heard screaming for help.

She told operators: “My baby is not breathing. My child has fallen off the bed and is not breathing

“She’s lost consciousness – she’s breathing and then stopping and then breathing and then stopping Get an ambulance - we need one now.”

The mum told the court she had being going out with the defendant for about 12 months and the pair had planned to get married.

She said Coleman had treated her daughter as if she was his own and had never witnessed him mistreat the baby.

She told the jury: “I’ve never witnessed her have a serious accident. She fell off the bed sometimes but it was never anything serious.

“She would be lying at the top of the bed by the headboard and then slide herself backwards off the bed - she thought it was funny.

“She would slip off onto her bum and then smile.

“I have never witnessed her suffer any serious head injury and I have never witnessed anyone treat her in a bad way. She was healthy at the time of April 2018.

“On the night of April 25, 2018, she was up a couple of times, tossing and turning but she was teething.

“Mr Coleman was home the next morning as we were waiting for a skip to be delivered.

“Mr Coleman would comfort her if she was whinging or say ‘that’s enough now’. I felt she was safe in his care - I wouldn’t have left her if I didn’t think that.

“He did everything, he cooked, he cleaned and took her on as her own from day one.

“On the morning of April 26 I was due to go to work for 7am. When I left there was no bruising to her face, or to her neck, arms or legs.

“At 7.24am I text him saying ‘are you ok baby? you seemed a bit moody, did you have a bad dream? I love you baby.’

“He wasn’t really talkative and we would usually have a cuddle in the bed before I would get up work but that morning we didn’t and he turned over to the other side.

“He said ‘I’m sorry, I did. Sorry if I took it out on you, it just felt so real’.”

The girl’s mum was later forced to deny harming her daughter after Coleman claimed some of her injuries may have been caused during resuscitation attempts.

She was shown seven images of the injuries and was asked each time whether she had done anything to cause them, to which she replied ‘no’.

She wept as she told the court: “I was trying to help her.

“When I took her - I shook her by her arms - I didn’t treat her abruptly but I wasn’t gentle.

“When she took her last breath in my arms her head went back - it was like she gave up.

“She waited for me to get home and then went.”

She said she frantically tried to perform CPR after arriving home from work before dialling 999 for a second time.

She added: “It felt like they were taking forever to get there - I just wanted someone there.

“I was out on the street beckoning the paramedics to the house.

“She was already harmed, what had been done, had already been done.

“I showed the paramedic some red marks on her neck - I saw them when I first got there and held her.

“I hadn’t seen those marks on her neck when I left for work that morning.”

In the second 999 call played to the court, the mum can be heard screaming: “She’s not breathing, come now. Please. She’s not breathing, she’s not breathing.”

Michael Mather-Lees QC, defending, suggested the mum had “panicked” and shook her daughter after finding her unresponsive.

She replied: “No I didn’t shake her - she was already hurt when I took her.”

Mr Mather-Lees added: “You suggested that you may have been responsible for the bruising to her face.”

She said: “I said could I have done after administering the CPR.”

Mr Mather-Lees then asked: “As far as the marks the girl had on her face at the hospital, didn’t you say to police that you could’ve possible caused them?”

The mum replied: “Yes, I did say that.”

Coleman, of no fixed abode, denies murder.

The trial, which is due to last three weeks, continues.