Woman (29) arrested over suspected murder of baby in Belfast

Police confirm they are not looking for anyone else in relation to the incident; second child remains critically ill in hospital after suspected stabbing

Police at the scene in Brompton Park, Belfast, where a baby died and another young child was critically injured following a stabbing incident. Photograph: Jonathan McCambridge/PA

Police at the scene in Brompton Park, Belfast, where a baby died and another young child was critically injured following a stabbing incident. Photograph: Jonathan McCambridge/PA

 

Police in Belfast have confirmed they are not looking for anyone else following the arrest of a 29-year-old woman over the suspected murder of a baby boy and attempted murder of his toddler sister in the north of the city.

The girl is critically ill in hospital after a suspected stabbing incident on Tuesday evening at Brompton Park in the Ardoyne area. The woman, who was arrested at the house, remains in police custody.

A postmortem on the boy is due to take place on Thursday.

Soft toys and flowers were left at the scene in tribute to the children on Wednesday as neighbours tried to come to terms with the tragedy.

Police were called to the house shortly after 8pm and discovered the injured baby and child, said Det Chief Insp Millar from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

“Despite the efforts of the emergency services the baby was sadly pronounced dead at the scene,” he said.

“The other young child was taken to hospital and remains in intensive care.

“A 29-year-old woman who was also in the house has been arrested on suspicion of murder and attempted murder and remains in custody at this time.

“Our thoughts are with the baby’s family, who are being supported by family liaison officers.”

Chief Insp Millar said that while the investigation remains at any early stage, he could confirm “that at this stage we are not looking for anyone else in relation to this tragic death”.

“I would like to thank the local community for the support that they have provided and would appeal to anyone with any information that can assist our investigation to contact us,” he added.

Sinn Féin North Belfast MP John Finucane, who visited the scene on Wednesday, said it was a “tragic situation compounded by the fact that we are dealing with somebody who has died at such a young age”.

“I think there is a senselessness to it, I think people find it very difficult to try to comprehend the facts as they are being relayed and the facts as they are emerging,” he said.

“It is incredibly difficult and will obviously leave a mark on those who are most impacted by it, and all we can do is rally round those who need support at this time.”

Huge impact

Neighbours who came to help the injured children “witnessed scenes that they shouldn’t have to witness”, said Mr Finucane, adding that the incident had a huge impact on residents of the area.

“Ardoyne is a very proud community, it is a resilient community also and I have no doubt whatsoever that they will rally around each other at this very difficult time, they will provide help and assistance for those who need it.

“I would also just stress just for people to exercise caution and sensitivity in regards to what they would post or share on social media, there is a live murder investigation and people need to be respectful of that process as well.”

The house remained sealed off as a crime scene on Wednesday evening.

People Before Profit councillor Fiona Ferguson said the news was “truly devastating”.

“A wave of shock began in Brompton Park last night and spread out across north Belfast,” she said. “After something so shocking, community solidarity, community support, rallying around each other is going to be absolutely paramount.” – Additional reporting: PA