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Father admits neglecting his four-month-old son who died after television weighing five stone dropped on his headKian McMillan died from 'catastrophic injuries' at home in Burnley last year Father Edward Hanratty, 41, was passed out on the floor after taking drink and drugsMother Natalie McMillan, 25, also admits child neglect but denies manslaughter
18:40 GMT, 19 December 2012
A father has admitted neglecting his four-month-old son who died from 'catastrophic injuries' after a television fell on his head.
Edward Hanratty, 41, was passed out on the kitchen floor after taking a cocktail of 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, Lancashire on December 6 last year.
Neglect: Natalie McMillan, 25, and Edward Hanratty, 41, who had initially denied child neglect but today changed his plea to guilty after giving evidence to Preston Crown Court. McMillan pleaded guilty to child neglect midway through the trial but continues to deny manslaughter by gross negligence
Hanratty had initially denied child neglect but dramatically changed his plea to guilty after giving evidence at Preston Crown Court today.
His former partner Natalie McMillan, 25, pleaded guilty to child neglect midway through the trial but continues to deny manslaughter by gross negligence.
In her evidence she claimed Hanratty was responsible for the television falling and that she was upstairs in bed when it happened, having taken heroin and valium.
She claims 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 declared this was 'nonsense' and that she was lying.
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 towards her being responsible,' Mr Wright said.
'A not guilty verdict is not a vindication of Natalie McMillan or a dereliction of Kian McMillan.'
McMillan has pleaded guilty to child 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 but later submitted a defence statement saying it was in fact Hanratty who was responsible for the death.
In her closing speech, Miss Goddard said: 'She has to find a way out and the only way out now is to falsely accuse Edward Hanratty.'
Hanratty, of Dirkhill Road, Bradford, was released on bail until his sentencing on January 31.
The trial was adjourned until tomorrow morning when the jury is expected to retire to consider its verdict against McMillan.