Page last updated at 14:15 GMT, Tuesday, 23 June 2009 15:15 UK

Girl's injuries 'not accidental'

Demi Leigh Mahon
Demi Leigh Mahon died from head injuries

A two-year-old girl who was allegedly murdered by her babysitter suffered catastrophic injuries, a jury heard.

Demi Leigh Mahon was left with at least 68 injuries to her head and body after her mother left her in the care of a 15-year-old boy in Eccles, Salford.

The boy, who cannot be named because of his age, denies murder and claims she fell in the park and bouncing on a bed.

The head injuries were not compatible with falls, pathologist Dr Naomi Carter told Manchester Crown Court.

She said the back of the child's scalp had been sheared off, most likely as a result of it coming into contact with a hard surface.

This child has been subject to a severe and sustained physical assault
Dr Naomi Carter

Demi Leigh also had two black eyes and retinal bleeding, she added.

Dr Carter told the court that the 68 injuries she had counted on Demi Leigh was an "underestimate" of the injuries she received.

She also suggested some of her injuries were caused by being violently shaken.

The jury heard that the child had a probable bite mark on her arm and a possible bite mark on her back.

Died in hospital

Dr Carter concluded: "I don't regard it as reasonable or credible that the vast majority of those injuries were sustained accidentally and in my opinion the distribution and the nature of the injuries Demi Leigh had are diagnostic of non-accidental injury, in other words inflicted by another person.

"This child has been subject to a severe and sustained physical assault almost certainly just before she was admitted to hospital and she died as a result of that assault."

Demi Leigh was attacked in July last year and died two days later.

Her mother Ann Marie McDonald left her with the defendant for about 90 minutes when she went to pick up a child benefit cheque.

'Face bruised'

On Monday she told the jury that on her return she found the defendant waiting for her outside the house.

She said he told her: "I picked her up - I might have hurt her - and she fell in the park."

Ms McDonald, known as Sindy, found her daughter lying on a bed.

She said: "Her face was bruised. I tried to pick her up and her head flopped back. She couldn't breathe properly.

"I screamed 'Why haven't you rung an ambulance?'. He said 'I never done nothing, I've not done nothing'."

The trial continues.

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