Baby Hollie Ashurst murder trial: LIVE updates as jury continues to hear prosecution evidence

A murder trial will hear more evidence today as the prosecution continues to put forward its case surrounding the death of a toddler.

Thursday, 13th February 2020, 8:00 am
Updated Thursday, 13th February 2020, 2:55 pm
Manchester Crown Court

Daniel Ashurst, 33, of Fleming Court, Shevington, has pleaded not guilty to both the murder and manslaughter of his 14-month-old daughter Hollie Ashurst. Press Ctrl F5 to refresh for updates.

12.15pm The jury is now being sent home. The trial will continue at 10am on Monday.

12.10pm The jury is back and more statements will be read. It's a list agreed by two experts relating to Hollie's injuries. Many of them were thought to be "contemporaneous with time of collapse". One injury, a bite mark on Hollie's left thigh, was thought to have happened several days before collapse.

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11.45am The jury is having another break.

11.40am Agreed facts involving Leanne Thompson include that Ashurst "adored" Hollie, was involved in changing and feeding her, and often looked after her. She would never have thought of Ashurst hurting Hollie.

Ashurst drove Leanne to work at DC Hair on February 28. It was her second day of work there, having started on Saturday, February 23. They arrived just after 9am.

She said Hollie was learning to walk and often bumped into things. She noticed what she thought was a bite mark on Hollie's leg as she changed her nappy. When she asked Ashurst if he had seen it, he said: "That's never a bite, she must have banged herself."

11.35am When arrested on suspicion of murder, Ashurst said: "That's awful, what's Leanne said?" Police held interviews with him on various dates, when he was represented by a solicitor and an appropriate adult was there. Ashurst replied "no comment" to all questions asked.

Ashurst has two previous convictions, relating to an incident on February 12, 2006. He entered guilty pleas to failing to report an accident and driving without due care and attention. He was given a fine, penalty points and his driving licence was endorsed.

11.30am Ashurst was arrested and cautioned on suspicion of section 18 assault at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital by PC Smith at 9.42pm on February 28. He was taken to Longsight Police Station. One comment he made was about how he would never put a finger on her. He spoke about his medication and how he saw his doctor every eight weeks. He said he occasionally used cocaine on a night out, then said he didn't use it and just smoked "stuff like cigarettes". He denied smoking cannabis and using illegal drugs. He said he felt shocked and couldn't believe it.

11.25am A lawyer for the prosecution has started reading out the agreed facts. The first section relates to items seized during the investigation, including two mobile phones belonging to Ashurst and one owned by his partner Leanne Thompson.

The next section relates to CCTV footage in the case, including the journey made by Ashurst from his home in Shevington to Standish Medical Centre. The journey measures 3.1 miles and should take nine minutes in normal road conditions and speed limits according to the AA. He set off at 1.27pm.

11.20am The judge and jury have returned. Ms Grahame QC has no further questions. After a quick question from prosecutor Guy Gozem QC, Dr Malcomson is now allowed to leave the witness box.

He was the last witness in the prosecution case. The jury will now hear about facts agreed by the prosecution and defence.

10.50am They're now talking about how retinal haemorrhages can be found after CPR has taken place, even though they weren't there before. This has been identified in numerous studies. Dr Malcomson's report said guidance indicated it was unlikely the pattern of bleeding in Hollie's eyes was from resuscitation alone.

The jury will now have a break while Ms Grahame consults her expert before completing cross-examination.

10.40am Ms Grahame is asking Dr Malcomson about specific studies involving children who had falls and their injuries. One is a study in America, which has previously been referred to in court, which found a child was taken to A&E in the USA once every six minutes after a stairway-related fall. Several different studies are being discussed.

10.30am Dr Malcomson is now being cross-examined by Nina Grahame QC. She's asking about the "triad" which has been mentioned by other medical experts. He explains that having the triad alone is not enough to come to a conclusion about what's happened.

Ms Grahame asks more questions about eyes. Hollie had a peri-macular fold in her right eye from before she died. This is normally expected to be found with retinal haemorrhages, the court hears, and can be indicative of the severity of the trauma rather than what caused it.

10.20am The judge and jury have arrived in court and the trial can resume. Prosecutor Guy Gozem QC has called Dr Roger Malcomson to the witness stand. He's a consultant paediatric and peri-natal pathologist in Leicester. The defence have a professor appearing by videolink at the same time.

Dr Malcomson examined Hollie's eyes after the post-mortem examination by Dr Charles Wilson. She had "numerous" haemorrhages.

"The pattern of injury are typical of that seen in trauma, particularly in abusive head trauma in children," he said.

10.10am Hollie's mother Leanne Thompson and her family have arrived in the public gallery, as preparations are made for today's hearing to start. There are a couple of people in the upstairs public gallery too, where people here to support Daniel Ashurst are asked to sit.

10am There's a delay with the start of proceedings today. Barristers are coming into court but they're not quite ready to begin yet.

9.15am Good morning. I'm at Manchester Crown Court, where the trial is expected to resume at 10am.