Baby murder trial jury told birth referred to safeguarding team
- Credit: Brittany Woodman, Archant Norfolk
A referral was made to a 'safeguarding' team following the birth of a baby girl who was allegedly murdered by her father, a court has heard.
Christopher Easey, 31, is on trial at Norwich Crown Court, charged with the murder of his three-month-old daughter, Eleanor.
Paramedics found her "pale, floppy and lethargic" after they were called to her Morton on the Hill home, near Lenwade at about 8.25pm on December 18, 2019.
She was later transferred to Addenbrooke's in Cambridge where she died on December 20 2019 as the result of a catastrophic brain injury.
The prosecution asserts Eleanor died as a result of an "inflicted, non-accidental injury" by her father Christopher while her mother, Carly Easey, allowed the death to occur.
On Monday (January 24) Felicity Grunberg, a midwife at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in King's Lynn, said Eleanor's birth was treated as a "concealed pregnancy".
She told Sally Howes Qc, prosecuting, it appeared Carly Easey was in labour although "she didn't think she was".
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Mrs Grunberg said Carly Easey said she suffered from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and thought that might be the cause.
She had told the midwife she had suffered a miscarriage the year before, which had been "a traumatic experience" for her.
Although she was not shocked at discovering she was pregnant Carly Easey "did say she didn't feel ready for a baby".
Mrs Grunberg said as it was a “concealed pregnancy”, in that the pregnancy had not been declared it to any health professional prior to birth, a safeguarding referral would be made.
She said a referral would be made to the local safeguarding team “to say we might have some concerns of the wellbeing of the baby”.
The witness said making such a referral “may trigger social services to become involved”.
Apart from the concealed pregnancy the midwife said she did not have any concerns.
Mrs Grunberg was asked how she found Carly Easey's husband, Christopher Easey, to be.
She said that while he "appeared to be supportive" of his wife she remembered him "several times making reference to birthing calves".
Mrs Grunberg said: "I assumed he was of a farming background".
She said that in describing the birth, several times he said "well, you don’t do it like that with calves".
The jury of six men and six women also heard from midwife Elizabeth Snowden.
She said that due to "quite a large blood loss" a decision was made that Carly Easey "required an emergency caesarean section".
Miss Snowden said this took just two minutes and said the risk of injury would be "minimal".
She checked the baby following the birth and found the "baby was healthy with no abnormalities".
Eleanor Easey was also assessed by paediatricians who were also satisfied with her condition.
Carly Easey had suffered an infection and was transferred to the intensive care unit where she was treated for pneumonia.
The court heard baby Eleanor was taken to the neo-natal intensive care unit as a precaution so she could be monitored as a result of her mother's condition.
Miss Snowden said Carly and Eleanor Easey were kept apart at this stage due to the hospital's "infection control policy".
She confirmed the birth was referred to safeguarding due to it being a concealed pregnancy.
Christopher Easey, of Ely Road, Little Thetford, Ely, has denied murdering Eleanor and a charge of cruelty to a person under 16.
Carly Easey, 36, of Elizabeth Drive, Chedburgh, has denied causing or allowing the death of a child and a charge of cruelty to a person under 16.
The trial continues.