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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 December 2007, 17:41 GMT
Man cleared of toddler's murder
Robert McHarg
Jurors found the case against Robert McHarg not proven
A man accused of murdering a toddler nine years ago has been cleared after jurors returned a not proven verdict.

Robert McHarg, 41, from Glasgow, was accused of murdering 23-month-old Barry McGuire by repeatedly striking him on the head and body.

The child, who lived in Braes View in Denny, near Falkirk, died from abdominal injuries in 1998.

At the High Court in Glasgow, Mr McHarg blamed Barry's mother, Mary McGuire, for the youngster's death.

When the case was reopened by Central Scotland Police in 2004, Mr McHarg was re-interviewed and accused of assaulting Barry, who died from peritonitis caused by a rupture in his intestines.

I've pushed for nine and a half years to get answers to what happened to my son
Stuart Jackson

Following the verdict, he walked from court in tears and was embraced by the child's natural father, Stuart Jackson.

Mr Jackson, 43, said he wanted justice for his son, who was also known as Stuart Jackson.

He said: "As far as I'm concerned his name is Stuart Jackson. His mother changed his name to Barry McGuire just a month before he died.

"I've pushed for nine-and-a-half years to get answers to what happened to my son Stuart.

"I feel as his father that there was nothing against Mr McHarg. He has been through an ordeal. Somebody will answer for this. I'll get justice."

Minor bump

When Barry died in 1998, detectives had considered his mother as the chief suspect.

A report was sent to Crown Office, but no charges were ever brought.

Later, the prosecution claimed that Mr McHarg assaulted the child while Ms McGuire, who is also known as Mary Wardynec, was out for the evening at her sister's home.

She told the court she had returned home at about midnight and that Mr McHarg told her Barry had fallen out of his cot and hurt his head.

The child was taken to Falkirk Royal Infirmary but sent home after a doctor diagnosed a minor bump on the head.

During the trial the court heard that Barry had suffered injuries which were also seen when someone falls from a first floor window or has been in a traffic accident.

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