A Sheffield Crown Court trial has heard how Sarah O’Brien, aged 33, of Bosworth Road, Doncaster, and her partner Martin Currie, aged 36, of no fixed abode, have denied murdering Ms O’Brien’s two-year-old son Keigan O’Brien in January after he died from head injuries.
Jason Pitter QC said Keigan suffered a brain bleed, possibly from having his head hit against a wall or the floor, and over the previous weeks he had suffered a broken spine, broken ribs and a broken arm due to twisting.
Karen O’Brien, Sarah’s mother and Keigan’s grandmother, told the court on October 8 she had seen bruising around Keigan’s eyes on a mobile phone picture around Halloween and had also seen a bruise on one of his testicles around December when she had been changing his nappy.
She said: “It was Halloween and I thought he had got Halloween make-up on. I did not actually see him. I saw it on a phone.”
Ms O’Brien added when she saw him the week afterwards the bruises were fading and her daughter told her that Martin said Keigan had fallen down the stairs.
When Ms O’Brien asked her daughter about the small bruise she found on a testicle she was told Keigan had fallen on a toy.
Ms O’Brien said: “He was a happy little boy but he was a bit mardy but he had been like that from when he was born. He was a cuddly, lovely baby who use to love cuddles and hugs.”
She added Keigan was also a whingy baby and was clumsy and often fell over when he was running because he had a pigeon toe.
After Keigan’s birthday party in January he went for his coat and shoes, according to Ms O’Brien, and he had wanted to go home with her.
She said, “Yes, he wanted to go home with me. I wish I had taken him”, and after Keigan had stayed with her the following day and said goodbye, she added: “He was waving at me through the window and that’s the last time I saw him.”
Ms O’Brien told the court under cross-examination that her daughter did not have a temper, was not aggressive, did not get wound-up and had not been struggling with her committments.
She also rejected suggestions her daughter had an alcohol problem or that Martin Currie had told her Sarah had been self-harming.
A tearful Ms O’Brien added that if she thought Keigan was being deliberately harmed she would have reported it.
She said: “Of course I would. Do you not think every day I don’t blame myself. If I had of seen anything I would have said.”
Sarah O’Brien and Martin Currie have also denied causing cruelty to a child by ill-treatment or neglect, and both face individual counts of causing or allowing the death of a child.