Body of baby found in bin at Waterford medical centre, court hears

Woman faces charges of manslaughter of newborn infant and child neglect

The trial of a woman accused of manslaughter of her newborn baby has heard the child was discovered in a bin at an out of hours medical service in Waterford.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded not guilty at Waterford Circuit Criminal Court last week to a charge of manslaughter at Caredoc on the Cork Road, Waterford city in 2018. She also denied a charge of child neglect on the same date.

Opening the case last week, Fiona Murphy SC said it was the prosecution’s case that the young woman attended Caredoc with her mother and grandmother sometime after 2am complaining of constipation and back pain. The issue of her potential pregnancy was raised.

She was asked to provide a urine sample and left to go to the toilets. She was in the toilets for approximately 12 to 13 minutes, but did not provide a urine sample on her return.

Having been referred to University Hospital Waterford, the three women left Caredoc and presented there at 3am. There was a concern about bleeding and a belief was formed that the young woman had recently given birth.

Giving evidence on Tuesday morning, Garda Alan Magner, dispatcher in the divisional communications room, said he received a call that a female had presented to the maternity department with symptoms of having completed a full-term pregnancy, but there was no sign of the baby.

Garda Magner then called Caredoc and asked them to check the bathroom. A substantial amount of blood staining on surfaces and tissues was found and gardaí were called.

The court heard that Inspector Donal Donohue spoke to Dr Adel Abdulrazak, who had seen the woman at Caredoc some hours prior, before inspecting the ladies' bathroom. He said he looked inside one of two bins and saw blood stained tissue.

Insp Donohoe said he lifted the bin up and noted that it was heavy. “At the time I was looking for a sign of life and there was no sign,” he said.

Garda Aidan Slattery then inspected the second bin and discovered the body of a baby girl.

Under cross-examination by Paul W Hutchinson BL, Garda Slattery said they knew they were looking for remains, but he was “upset and shocked” when the baby was discovered.

Superintendent Anthony Lonergan told the court the infant appeared to be full-term.

A postmortem was carried out by Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis.

The trial continues.

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