Alleged child cruelty case ‘a priority investigation’

A MOSSIDE couple accused of inflicting “hideous” injuries on their young child appeared at court by video link from custody on Monday.

Coleraine Magistrates Court
Coleraine Magistrates Court
Coleraine Magistrates Court

Amanda Fulton (31) appeared before Coleraine Magistrates Court from Hydebank while her husband Christopher Fulton (30) appeared from Maghaberry Prison.

A prosecutor told the court medical notes and statements from the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast were still to be received and were “being chased up regularly.”

She described the case as “a priority investigation” and asked for four weeks for “a full file update or the investigating officer to attend.”

The Fultons’ lawyer said that since the hold-up was “entirely with the hospital” no issue was being taken with the delay “given the seriousness of the offences.”

He added: “They have been granted bail – subject to an address.”

Deputy District Judge Sean O’Hare adjourned the case until February 24 for a full update.

The couple are jointly charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent, two counts of child cruelty involving different children, and causing or allowing a child to suffer serious physical harm.

They were arrested after their child was taken to a GP and then transferred for emergency hospital treatment on November 7 last year.

They maintain their innocence, with a defence barrister previously raising a family history of haemophilia as a factor to consider in explaining how the child sustained the injuries.

Earlier the pair, from Rockfield Gardens in Mosside, were banned from any contact with their children.

No update on the condition of the child was given at Monday’s Court.

However, a previous court heard details of the injuries suffered by the alleged victim who was said to have been left blind and may be left unable to walk or talk.

A prosecution lawyer had previously disclosed that the child had sustained 17 rib fractures, four fractures to the limbs, multiple liver lacerations, a skull fracture, along with subdural and retinal haemorrhages.

The child also underwent brain surgery to repair a tear. Mr Justice McAlinden had previously described the circumstances as “frankly hideous”.

He added: “It’s quite shocking to read the list of severe injuries that this child had suffered.”

Another court hearing previously heard that the child had been moved out of intensive care and was stable.

A judge had told an earlier court he would provisionally grant bail to the couple when acceptable accommodation was identified.