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The Evening Leader
Naomi Hill whose lifeless body was carried into hospital by her mother in the early hours of the morning.
A MOTHER accused of murdering her disabled four year-old asked staff at casualty to “wave a magic wand,” to make her daughter better – and then reacted with “disbelief” when she was told the youngster was dead, a court heard.
Joanne Hill, 32, of Goya Close, Connah’s Quay, is on trial at Chester Crown Court.
The prosecution has alleged Hill drowned daughter Naomi in the bath at home on November 26 last year because she could not come to terms with Naomi’s condition, a mild form of cerebral palsy.
Hill denies murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility, and her state of mind at the time of Naomi’s death is said to be central to the case.
Giving evidence in court, medical staff from the Countess of Chester Hospital described how Hill had carried the fully-clothed, lifeless body of Naomi into A and E in the early hours of the morning on November 27 last year – about eight hours after she allegedly killed her.
Jennifer Moore, a nurse from the department, said that on arrival at the hospital, Hill, who looked “untidy and unkempt”, asked for help and said: “I think my child is dead,” in a calm voice.
She said Hill’s hair was a mess, her trousers were wet, and she later realised she had been drinking.
She said: “I would have expected her to be hysterical and very distressed, she was quite quiet really,” adding that she had not seemed “particularly upset” at this stage.
As medical staff tried to resuscitate Naomi, Hill was asked by staff what had happened and Miss Moore told the court she had replied with, “nothing, I don’t know”, in a “giggle”.
The court heard that Hill told staff she had remembered picking Naomi up from the childminder’s at 6pm on November 26.
Another nurse, Helen Stroyd, was called to the emergency and spoke to Hill in the family room.
She said Hill had asked, “is she going to die? Can you wave a magic wand to make her better?”, and said Hill appeared “vacant”.
The court heard Hill initially told Miss Stroyd she had arrived at the hospital in a taxi but later told police she had arrived in her own car and had been drinking.
Mrs Stroyd told the court that when Dr Noel Murphy told Hill her daughter was dead, at about 3.55am “she became upset and had a look of disbelief.”
“She put her hands on her face and was crying.
“I asked her if she wanted us to phone someone for her.
“She told us there was nobody for us to phone.”
Before she was arrested by police at the hospital, Hill had told them she could not remember what had happened.
PC Andrea Ellis said: “She said she had come to hospital from somewhere in Chester but she couldn’t recall where.”
The officer told the court when she was arrested Hill had said, “You are arresting me. My daughter is dead and you are arresting me. I want to see her to give her a hug and a kiss”.
PC Ellis told the court when Hill was taken to Naomi she started to cry and after seeing numbers on her gown had started talking about how Naomi had been learning numbers at school.
The court heard she had then said “grandma will be in heaven with open arms”.
At the police station, Hill was found to be almost twice the legal drink drive limit.
PC Ellis said she was “calm and co-operative” with police and was able to answer questions.
Custody sergeant Charles Taylor also said Hill could answer questions, but he put on the log she appeared “confused and bewildered” when she arrived and said her mind appeared to be “somewhere else”.
In court he described how she had doodled on a pad on the desk.
Sgt Taylor said he became aware, after asking questions as a matter of procedure, that Hill was on anti-depressants and had self-harmed in the past.
The court heard mental health nurse, Paul Gardener, was able to assess Hill on Wednesday, November 28 at 9am after Hill had sobered up and had declared her fit to be detained and interviewed, saying Hill showed no signs of mental illness.
He said: “She was not distressed, not pre-occupied, she was expressing no signs of psychosis.”
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