NI man jailed for life for killing girl
A man has been ordered to serve at least 25 years for murdering the 15-month-old daughter of his former partner.
Barry McCarney (33) of Co Tyrone, was found guilty last month of Millie Martin’s murder in Enniskillen in 2009. McCarney was also found guilty of grievous bodily harm with intent and sexual assault.
Setting the minimum tariff McCarney must serve before being considered for release, Mr Justice Ben Stephens told the labourer at Belfast Crown Court he was a “deeply manipulative man” who had carried out a “sadistic sexual assault” on the child.
During the 10-week trial, the court heard that in addition to the fatal blow to the back of her head, Millie had suffered a multitude of other injuries, including horrific internal injuries which could have proved just as fatal. Those injuries had been caused by punching or prodding not only in the weeks, but possibly even in the hours before her death.
The baby also had 21 cracked ribs. According to specialists seven were old and healing, while a further 14 were less than 10 days old and still fresh. There were also multiple bruises and an oval lump on her forehead, which was clearly visible in the weeks leading to her killing.
Millie had also been subjected to a sexual assault which it was suggested may have been caused by a punch to her genital area, as opposed to actual penetration.
Speaking outside the court, the toddler’s mother Rachael Martin said her former partner deserved a harsher punishment. “I don’t think it was long enough,” Ms Martin said. “Twenty five years isn’t long enough.”
Her mother and Millie’s grandmother Margaret Graham said McCarney, who was not the child’s father, should never be freed. “It wasn’t long enough - life should be life,” she said. “He should never see the light of day again. We won’t ever see Millie, her mummy won’t ever see her wee daughter and life should mean life.”
But McCarney’s father Kevin insisted he was innocent of the murder and would be appealing against the verdict. “We will be appealing the case and we know he will be proved innocent,” he said.
In setting the minimum term, Mr Justice Stephens explained that the sentencing framework in Northern Ireland was very different to that in England and Wales, where a whole life term could be handed down. He said the offence was serious enough to use the upward starting point guide of 15 to 16 years.
Explaining that aggravating features, among them the vulnerability and fragility of the victim, required him to make a “substantial upward adjustment”, he told McCarney he would have to serve at least 25 years. The judge described him as a “deeply manipulative individual devoid of any regard" for social norms. “You perceived Millie to be yours to abuse when opportunity presented,” he said.
Once the 25-year term is spent, McCarney can only be released, on licence, if parole commissioners deem he no longer presents a danger to the public.
McCarney, clean shaven and dressed in a grey jumper, showed little emotion as the judge delivered his sentencing decisions. The judge told him he had murdered the child in a spontaneous act in response to her cries of pain as he inflicted a “sadistic” sexual assault on her.
McCarney moved in with Rachael Martin at her home in Glebe Park in Enniskillen three months before Millie died. In that period the toddler suffered a range of injuries.
The judge said McCarney had duped Ms Martin into believing he cared for Millie and she was therefore willing to leave her daughter alone with him. “You gained the total trust of Rachael Martin, you appeared to her to be very good to Millie,” he said.
On the night the toddler sustained the fatal injuries, McCarney had persuaded his girlfriend to go out to a shop to buy him a chocolate bar. The judge said he was already on his way up the stairs with the intention of sexually abusing the young child in her bed as Ms Martin was reversing her car out of the driveway. The judge said McCarney had struck Millie’s head on a hard surface in response to her cries as he inflicted a brutal sexual assault. That head injury would ultimately kill her.
McCarney, from Woodview Crescent, Trillick, Co Tyrone, brought the child into the Erne Hospital in Enniskillen, where she died the following day.
At the trial last year, Ms Martin was acquitted of charges of allowing her daughter’s death and cruelty through wilful neglect.