An eye doctor has become the latest expert witness to say he believes a young girl left bleeding from her brain and eyes was shaken.
Babysitter Syeda Sokina Begum is alleged to have “repeatedly shaken” a baby left in her care on New Year’s Day in 2017, placing the child in danger of her life.
The 29-year-old, of Headland Court, Aberdeen, is on trial at the High Court in the city.
Earlier this week, a consultant neurosurgeon said the baby was “most likely” left in the “floppy and unresponsive” state after being shaken.
And yesterday, consultant paediatric opthalmologist William Newman supported that version of events.
Dr Newman, who specialises in eye problems related to brain injuries, performed in-depth research on what caused the baby to suffer the retinal haemorrhages she was left with.
The 56-year-old medic said: “There was no disclosed history of trauma that would explain that. These are seen following a shaking type of injury. They were most consistent with receiving that type of injury around the time she became acutely ill.”
The court heard that, 10 minutes before collapsing, the baby was happily playing with Begum – who was “throwing her up in the air and catching her”. The accused told investigators the infant was then left unattended and supported by a pillow before being discovered “gasping for breath”.
Advocate depute Martin Richardson questioned Dr Newman on whether the baby’s injuries could have been caused by “bouncing or play”.
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Dr Newman said: “There are multiple haemorrhages on layers of the retina. There were widespread retinal haemorrhages extending from the back of the eye to the front of the eye, around 360 degrees and too numerous to count.
“The force required to cause this would not be produced by such actions.”
Dr Newman noted there was “no sign of external trauma” to the child’s skull and also ruled out the injuries could be caused by a pre-existing condition.
Defence advocate Frances Connor, however, suggested the expert evidence was based only on “educated guesswork” and the child may have suffered the eye injuries at an earlier date.
She questioned the accuracy of background reports provided to doctors by the baby’s parents, after Dr Newman pointed out parents of a child with vision problems would “normally” report concerns to doctors.
The trial, before Lord Uist, continues.