Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Bail expected for man accused of attempted murder of Bessbrook toddler

The man charged with the attempted murder of a Bessbrook toddler is expected to be released on bail next month after spending a year in prison.

Darren Fagan (25) from Portadown appeared at Newry Magistrates Court via video link from Maghaberry jail last week in order to perfect bail conditions.

Fagan has failed to gain accommodation as his family have refused to offer a bail address for him after distancing themselves from him. Several hostels have also rejected him.  His defence team claim he has suffered from “severe mental health difficulties” while in prison.

The Portadown man is alleged to have caused injuries to a two year old girl – which have resulted in brain damage – when she was assaulted in her Bessbrook home on 19th October last year.

A police patrol had found the “lifeless” little girl outside the property, not breathing. An officer performed CPR and emergency first aid until paramedics arrived but the alleged attack has left the child with permanent brain damage. Initially the child was taken to Daisy Hill Hospital but was transferred to the intensive care unit at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast where she was put into a medically induced coma when doctors discovered she had sustained multiple skull fractures and was suffering bleeding onto her brain.

The child’s mother has alleged that the defendant punched her daughter after the child came looking for medicine.

Last week, the court was told that Fagan had one more address to be brought forward to the Lord Chief Justice for consideration which defence counsel believed would be suitable for the accused.

Prosecution applied for a preliminary enquiry for November 25th.  The application was granted by District Judge Eamonn King, who set a review date of November 11th and advised that the defendant would need to appear before the court of via video link if he fails to perfect bail.