Page last updated at 15:33 GMT, Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Parents drank before baby death

Kareen Middleton
Kareen Middelton stormed out of the family home on the night her baby died

A mother has told a murder trial she was "laughing and joking" with her husband hours before he allegedly set fire to their home, killing their baby.

Kareen Middleton, 24, said they were drinking before she later stormed out of the family home in Shetland.

Husband William Middleton is accused of wilfully setting fire to curtains and clothing at the house at Brae.

He denies murdering nine-month-old Annalise Middleton and trying to murder two other children, aged three and six.

Mrs Middleton told the trial at the High Court in Aberdeen that she and her 32-year-old husband had spent the evening enjoying a drink with his 14-year-old niece and two of her friends.

Clutching photos of her children, she said: "We were having laughs and jokes. We were just joking about."

She said she had "quite a bit to drink" and could not remember why she later stormed out of the house.

Advocate depute Jock Thomson asked if she remembered her husband telling one of the young girls: "I wish I'd met you before I met my wife."

She replied that she could not remember.

Sexual assault

Mrs Middleton described her husband as "absolutely wonderful" with his daughter for the first six weeks of her life but said he then lost interest.

"He never wanted to do anything with her at all. He never played with her, fed her, put her to bed, he never did anything," she said.

Mr Middleton denies murdering his daughter and trying to murder two other children on 20 September last year.

He is also accused of sexual assault against a woman on various dates at another address.

He denies the charge and has lodged a special defence of consent to the sexual assault allegation.

The trial continues.



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