Tyrone man jailed for at least 25 years after killing toddler

Sat, Jan 26, 2013, 00:00

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), Woodview Crescent, Trillick, Co Tyrone, was found guilty last month of Millie Martin’s murder in Enniskillen in 2009.

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.

McCarney was also found guilty of grievous bodily harm with intent and sexual assault of Millie.

Mr Justice Stephens told him he must serve at least six and two years for those crimes respectively, but those terms will run concurrently with his murder sentence.

McCarney showed little emotion as the judge delivered his sentencing remarks.

Millie’s mother Rachael Martin looked on from the public gallery. Last year, she was acquitted of charges of allowing her daughter’s death and cruelty through wilful neglect.

Upward starting point

In setting the minimum term McCarney must serve of his life sentence, 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.

At an eight-week trial last year, jurors unanimously found McCarney guilty of the toddler’s murder in December 2009.

The judge told McCarney 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.

‘Gained total trust’

“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.

Mr Justice Stephens said he was already on his way up the stairs with the intention of sexually abusing the 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.