Amy Smith murder trial: Mum accused of poisoning 'has been made a scapegoat'
A MUM accused of "systematically poisoning" her baby has been made a "scapegoat", her barrister has told a jury.
Both prosecution and defence barristers have made their closing statements in the case of Michelle Smith, who denies murdering her six week-old daughter, Amy.
Amy died in November, 2007.
Tests later revealed the presence of an adult painkiller, dihydrocodeine, in her body, which it is alleged Smith gave to her daughter at the family home in Parc Avenue, Morriston.
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Prosecuting barrister Christopher Clee QC said: "On November 9, 2007, the day Amy Smith died, somebody had given her dihydrocodeine. Questions of the level and the concentration are perhaps not the important factor, it's that it was there in the first place."
Mr Clee said there had been no suggestion anyone else had given Amy the drug and it could not have been passed to Amy by Smith breastfeeding her daughter.
Smith, now of Brynawel, Neath, on trial at Swansea Crown Court, spent November 9 alone with Amy and her two other children, he said.
"At noon on November 9 that little girl was alert, bright and thriving. By 4pm she was, to all intents and purposes, dead. So what happened in that four hours? What happened in that four hours to kill that little girl? We suggest that Michelle Smith knows precisely what happened, but she hasn't told you."
"The only possible explanation for the presence of that dihydrocodeine is that it was administered to Amy Smith by this defendant in that four hour period.
"If it was Michelle Smith, and we say you can be sure it was, the question of how it was done becomes secondary," said Mr Clee.
The jury has been told the drug had been prescribed to both Smith and her husband before Amy died.
"If you're sure that Michelle Smith did administer dihydrocodeine on the day of Amy's death, you have to decide if it played a significant part in that little girl's death," asked Mr Clee.
He told the jury they had to find Smith guilty if they believed she intended to kill Amy or cause her serious harm.
Mr Clee said: "It's almost beyond the bounds of human comprehension that a mother would systematically poison her baby, but we know people do these things.
"We suggest, and it's for you to decide, that in fact in this case, the evidence establishes that Michelle Smith did in fact do such a thing," he added.
Addressing the jury, Sasha Wass QC, for Smith, said: "The death of one's own child is perhaps the most heartbreaking, gut-wrenching event for any parent but perhaps there's a tragedy even worse, to lose a child, and then to be wrongly accused of his or her murder," she said.
She told the jury no firm cause of death had been found and experts and doctors had failed to give a definite answer. They could not rule out Amy had died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or that the drug could have been given by medical staff.
"What the prosecution case has tried to do is to explain something about the death of Amy Smith which doctors have failed to explain. What the prosecution has sought to do is in effect use Michelle Smith as a scapegoat," Miss Wass added.
She said it was "ludicrous" Smith could have murdered Amy.
"It would be a travesty to convict this conscientious and heartbroken woman for the murder of her six week-old baby," she added.
Miss Wass detailed errors in Amy's medical treatment, including findings of the drug in a urine test while she was alive.
"In the context of this case that might have been a very serious error," said Miss Wass.
She said the first finding of the drug in Amy's urine was at a rate 25 times higher than the second sample, taken after Amy's death.
She said the amount found after Amy's death was equivalent to one tablet and that the dose detected in her urine must have been "colossal".
"The prosecution have said that a massive dose on October 24 didn't kill her, but the smaller amount on November 9 did," she said.
Miss Wass said there was no research by the prosecution about how Smith could have given Amy the drug.
There had been no testing whether the tablet could be crushed or whether it could be ground small enough to come out of a teat of a newborn baby's bottle.
She said they were alleging Smith would have had to be "cold" and "calculating" to feed her baby poison.
"It's inconceivable and out of keeping with the lady we have seen in this court," added Miss Wass.
"You must be sure it was dihydrocodeine that was a cause of death and we say, in this case, that evidence is sorely lacking," she said.
Miss Wass ended her case by telling the jury: "She's a mother who wanted this baby, she planned Amy, she loved Amy and she demanded that Amy had proper medical attention.
"She was clearly devastated when Amy died. There's no doubt of any of these facts. We invite you to find Michelle Smith not guilty," said Miss Wass.
An alternative charge of causing or allowing Amy's death has been withdrawn.
The judge was due to begin his summing up today and it is expected the jury will be sent out to consider their verdict on Wednesday.