Man accused of baby's murder has no previous convictions, court hears

A man accused of murdering his ex-fiancée’s baby seven years ago has no previous convictions, a court has heard.

Philip Doyle (aged 34) of Tinakilly, Aughrim, Co. Wicklow has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering three-and-a-half-month-old Ross Murphy at 3 Creagh Demesne, Gorey, Co. Wexford on April 5, 2005.

Inspector Sean Clince told Mr Giollaiosa O’ Lideadha SC defending that Mr Doyle had no previous convictions.

The jury has been watching videos of garda interviews with the accused after he was arrested on April 27, 2005 - three weeks after the infant died.

The court heard the painter and decorator changed from an account he gave in a witness statement earlier in the month saying he saw the baby shaking its head to then telling gardaí in an interview he fell while holding the infant.

Gardaí discovered from mobile phone records that Mr Doyle was on his own with the baby in the house after his ex-fiancée Leona Murphy had gone out to get a DVD.

In a sixth interview with gardaí, Mr Doyle said he tripped on the corner of a mat and fell on the timber floor of the living room with the baby in his arms.

A medical report from State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy saying the baby had been vigourously shaken was put to the accused in an earlier interview.

Insp. Clince told Mr O’ Lideadha when confronted with the evidence the accused became tearful and indicated that he wanted to talk to a solicitor.

Detective Garda Joe Sullivan told Mr Paul Carroll he interviewed the accused on April 27, 2005 at Gorey Garda Station.

He said Mr Doyle could offer no explanation for the baby’s death but said he and Ms Murphy had seen the baby shaking his head on the Sunday before he died.

When the accused was asked if he honestly believed the baby had died as a result of the fall, he said he was “unsure”.

Mr Doyle told gardaí that the fall was the only thing that happened to the baby and that he did not shake him.

Det. Gda Sullivan agreed with Mr O’ Lideadha under cross-examination that the accused answered every question put to him when interviewed and “wasn’t just hedging his bets”.

He said Mr Doyle agreed the baby could not have sustained an injury by shaking his head from side to side and told gardaí: “I never suggested he did it to himself.”

Det. Gda Sullivan further agreed Mr Doyle said he misjudged his footing on the mat and fell forward turning his body to the right as he fell.

When asked in the interview why he let 24 days go by without telling anyone what happened, Mr Doyle said he was petrified because he was the one who let the child fall.

The court has heard the baby was initially taken to Wexford General Hospital on March 31, 2005 because he was "lifeless" and getting sick on the bed.

The baby was kept in for observation because of a rash on his neck and released on Sunday, April 3, but returned to the hospital that evening in cardiac arrest.

He was rushed to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin in the early hours of the next morning but died the next day.

The prosecution has now closed its case and the defence has told the jury it will not be calling any further evidence.

The trial continues before a jury of six men and five women presided over by Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy.

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