South Yorks mum denies lying about injuries to baby

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A MOTHER accused of lying over the circumstances surrounding the death of her newborn daughter told jurors she did tell police and doctors the truth.

Gemma Coates, aged 31, is accused of giving medics and police officers differing versions of events over what happened to her five-week-old daughter Ruby when she stopped breathing at their home on High Street, Goldthorpe, Barnsley.

Coates is charged with perverting the course of justice. The prosecution claim she was trying to protect her partner at the time, Mark Lackenby, who is accused of murder.

Coates, who has given birth to another baby girl since Ruby’s death, told Sheffield Crown Court she had no idea how her daughter ended up with fractured ribs and brain injuries before she died in February 2012.

When asked if she ever hurt Ruby, or if she knew how her injuries were caused, she replied, ‘no’.

When asked if she had any concerns over anything ‘untoward’ happening to Ruby she said: “None whatsoever.”

When asked by Lackenby’s barrister, Andrew Robertson QC, whether Lackenby loved his daughter and was a doting father, Coates replied, ‘yes’.

Coates, a nursery nurse, wept openly when she recalled her daughter’s last few hours alive.

She said she heard her daughter crying when she was having a bath while Lackenby was caring for her, and thought she was hungry.

But Coates said when she sat down to feed the tot she went ‘floppy’ and stopped breathing.

Speaking through sobs, she said: “I was going to pop her up on my shoulder as that was her favourite place. I got her in front of me so she was facing me and that’s when she went floppy and stopped breathing .

“Her arms went backwards and her head. She went blue.”

She said she remembered talking to medics when her daughter was in hospital and answering their questions but said it was all a ‘bit of a blur’.

“I was distraught,” she added.

The trial continues.