Northern Ireland news

Man and woman on cruelty charges after baby found abandoned in Belfast city centre

The baby was found by binmen outside CastleCourt in Belfast city centre
Mairead Holland

A MAN and woman have appeared in court charged with child cruelty after a baby was found abandoned in Belfast city centre.

It is understood the child, believed to be just a few weeks old, was found by bin men outside Castlecourt Shopping Centre last Sunday, April 7.

An ambulance was called just after 2pm and the baby was treated at the scene before being taken to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.

A PSNI spokesman said a 41-year-old man was charged with child cruelty and a 38-year-old woman with child cruelty and possession of a controlled Class C drug.

They appeared at Belfast Magistrates Court last Tuesday.

The cruelty charge against the female defendant alleges that she "wilfully exposed to danger the said (child) in a manner likely to cause... unnecessary suffering or injury to health".

The charge against the male defendant is that he "wilfully ill-treated, abandoned and exposed to danger the said (child) in a manner likely to cause ... unnecessary suffering or injury to health".

The woman was remanded in custody to Hydebank prison and the man to Maghaberry prison.

Bail conditions were set for both defendants including that they reside at an address approved by PSNI and that they do no attempt to see, speak to or in any other way contact the injured party unless approved by Social Services.

THe NI Ambulance Service said it had received a 999 call just after 2pm on Sunday following reports that "a baby had been injured following an incident in Royal Avenue".

A spokesperson said: "The NIAS dispatched an emergency crew to the scene and following assessment and initial treatment the child was taken by ambulance to the Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children."

The defendants are due to appear again at the Magistrates' Court sitting at Laganside Courthouse on May 7.

Belfast Health and Social Care Trust declined to comment publicly on the condition of the baby "at this time".

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