Man appears in court charged with murdering a baby in Armagh

Ali Sharyar was minding boy who suffered a ‘non-accidental’ fatal head injury, court told

An undated handout photo issued by the PSNI of Hunter McGleenon who died in Co Armagh on Tuesday. The   postmortem results led police to believe the youngster was murdered. Photograph: PA

An undated handout photo issued by the PSNI of Hunter McGleenon who died in Co Armagh on Tuesday. The postmortem results led police to believe the youngster was murdered. Photograph: PA

 

A thirty-one-year-old man has been charged with the murder of an 11-month old baby in Northern Ireland this week.

The defendant appeared in the dock at Newry magistrates court on Saturday morning, where a PSNI detective sergeant said he could connect the accused to the charges.

Sharyar Ali, a Pakistani national with an address of Westenra Terrace, Monaghan, faces a charge of murdering the baby by blunt force on Tuesday November 26th.

The Newry court heard the defendant had been in sole care of Hunter McGleenon from 2pm the day before, whilst the mother attended to her terminally-ill grandmother, who had since died.

During a number of police interviews, Mr Ali has denied the charge against him, claiming the child had accidentally fallen from a low sofa onto a concrete floor.

Two further charges of possession of an indecent photograph and illegally entering the UK by breach of a deportation order have been withdrawn by the prosecution.

Mr Ali, with his face down throughout the court hearing, spoke only to confirm he understood the charges. A brother of the accused appeared in support with a “significant” cash surety offered for bail.

An address in Manchester, connected to the accused’s ex-wife was offered for a bail address, for his “own safety” outside Northern Ireland, due to the high-profile media reporting of the case.

A PSNI detective sergeant opposed the bail application for fear of flight and the possibility of interference with the police investigation.

The officer added that the defendant had changed his evidence a number of times during police interviews over a number of days since his arrest on Tuesday.

Mr Ali said he had put baby Hunter into his cot at 10pm that night with the child sleeping through to 6.30am.

The accused told officers that he had only lifted the baby for a moment during the night and that he had fallen from a low sofa onto a concrete floor.

A postmortem report has stated that “the fatal head injury was not accidental”.

The defendant went on to say that he took the child into a cold shower and performed CPR, at 9.30am, which “seemed to revive him”.

Mr Ali said later that morning he noticed the child’s lips had turned blue.

The court heard the baby’s mother had called to the house at 3am, but the door was locked and there was no answer, the defendant’s car was said to have been outside.

Prosecution stated “at no time did he [MR ALI]try ringing for medical assistance”.

“He brought the baby back to the house the next day, to the mother, with the baby in the car saying that he couldn’t breathe, when the family rushed to the car, the infant was cold to the touch,” said prosecution.

An ambulance was called to the Keady address and the “lifeless baby” was taken to hospital, where he was declared dead.

However, contradicting Mr Ali’s statement, CCTV footage captured on the night in question identified the defendant, with a mobile phone business in Dundalk, taking the baby in his car to several destinations, in and out of the jurisdiction, whilst checking on business and social activities through the early hours of the morning.

The infant was left for hours at a time in a car park and when the accused entered a casino in Monaghan, leaving at 5am.

Defence solicitor, John Rocks, had no questions for the detective, stating that his client had been a “father figure” to the deceased baby.

“During interview he has spoken freely and consistently,” said defence.

“When the baby was in the car, the defendant says that he called out to check on the child a number of times and the baby was sleeping.

“The mechanism of injury to the child, he alleges, was simply by way of an accident. There was nothing sinister. He offers his condolences to the family,” he added.

District judge Eamonn King refused what he called a “pointless” bail application.

“The charge is murder of an infant child whilst in the custody of the defendant,” said Mr King.

“The defendant took on business and social activities and other matters not appropriate for taking care of an infant child. Bail is refused,” added the judge.

The defendant was remanded into custody and the case adjourned to December 18th.