By Q Radio News
A couple accused of inflicting "hideous" injuries on their brain damaged young child are to be granted bail, a High Court judge ruled today.
Mr Justice McAlinden stressed Amanda Fulton, 31, and her 30-year-old husband Christopher Fulton will only be released once an address he personally approves is found.
The pair, from Rockfield Gardens in Mosside, Co Antrim, are to be banned from any contact with their children during the initial stage of their release.
More details also emerged of the injuries suffered by the alleged victim, who is blind and may be left unable to walk or talk.
A prosecution lawyer disclosed the child sustained:
- 17 rib fractures
- Four fractures to long limbs
- Multiple liver lacerations
- A skull fracture, along with subdural and retinal haemorrhages.
- The child also underwent brain surgery to repair a tear.
Mr Justice McAlinden described the alleged circumstances as "frankly hideous".
He added: "It's quite shocking to read the list of severe injuries that this child had suffered."
The Fultons are jointly charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent, two counts of child cruelty involving different children, and causing or allowing a child to suffer serious physical harm.
They deny responsibility for any harm, with their lawyers suggesting a family condition of haemophilia could offer an explanation for what happened.
Due to a court order the names or ages of the alleged victims cannot be published.
Both accused were arrested after their very young child was taken to a GP and then transferred for emergency hospital treatment on November 7.
According to the prosecution neither of them could offer an explanation for how the injuries occurred.
It was revealed that loyalist paramilitary threats have been issued against the couple.
Their home has also been boarded up due to the strength of public feeling, with the court told the couple have been subjected to online threats and abuse.
During today's hearing defence barrister Declan Quinn said the alleged victim has been moved out of intensive care and is now stable.
He acknowledged the seriousness of the allegations against his client.
"The court will be cognisant of cases of this type where at least one of the parties, for example, is ultimately proved to have clean hands," counsel submitted.
"But at this stage both parties are maintaining their innocence."
A social worker confirmed that medical tests on another child have returned normal results.
Assurances were also given by a grandmother that she would report any attempt by the accused to contact the alleged victims.
On that basis the judge said he will provisionally grant bail to the couple when acceptable accommodation is identified.
"The issue of the address being suitable to police is one matter, but it has to be formally approved by me," he insisted.
"The address will not be bandied about in public, having regard to the existence of the threat."