Man admits neglecting son who was killed by falling TV in Burnley

Edward Hanratty

Edward Hanratty

First published in News

A man has admitted neglecting his four-month-old son who died from "catastrophic injuries" when a television weighing five stone dropped on his head in Lancashire.

Edward Hanratty, 41, was said to have passed out on the kitchen floor through drugs and drink when the child's mother's allegedly knocked over the TV set as she attempted to move it to plug in a scart lead and watch a DVD.

Kian McMillan was lying below on his changing mat and died a day later in hospital after the incident at his home in Burnley on December 6 last year.

Natalie McMillan, 25, has also pleaded guilty to child neglect during the trial at Preston Crown Court but denies manslaughter by gross negligence. When giving evidence she claimed ex-partner Hanratty was the person responsible for the television falling and that she was upstairs in bed when it happened, having taken heroin and valium.

She said she decided to accept the blame on his behalf from the moment she made the 999 call from the address in Scarlett Street. Prosecutor Suzanne Goddard QC said this was "nonsense" and that she was lying.

In his closing speech, Peter Wright QC, defending McMillan, said the circumstances of the case do not "deserve plaudits" for the conduct which led to the television falling, whoever was responsible.

But he told jurors that they were not being asked to determine whether his client was a good mother but whether she dropped the television and if she did, was it behaviour which was "truly, exceptionally bad" rather than a mistake or a serious error of judgment.

"We say the evidence points away rather than to her being responsible," Mr Wright said.

"A not guilty verdict is not a vindication of Natalie McMillan or a dereliction of Kian McMillan." She pleaded guilty to neglect over the circumstances that "tragically and avoidably" led to her son's death and would be sentenced accordingly, he said.

The jury heard police interviews of McMillan, of Clarendon Road, Leeds, in which she stated that she was the one who knocked over the television and that she also initially denied taking drugs. She was charged with manslaughter and later submitted a defence statement saying it was in fact Hanratty who was responsible for the death.

Hanratty, of Dirkhill Road, Bradford, was released on bail until his sentencing on January 31. The trial was adjourned until Thursday morning when the jury is expected to retire to consider its verdict.

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