A YOUNG mum accused of murdering her premature baby told police her controlling former partner said not to tell anyone when their daughter stopped breathing days before she died from violent shaking injuries.

Tiffany Tate, 22, said Michael Roe, 33, had been looking after their eight-week-old daughter Holly on his own when she came home to find her struggling to breathe.

Tate told detectives the baby was making a sound like a barking seal before she stopped breathing on September 4, 2018.

The pair are charged with killing their baby between September 8 and 11 at the family home in Crowborough, East Sussex.

Tate, who was described as having borderline learning difficulties, told police Roe had been looking after Holly on his own before she came home around 6:30pm.

“She started making this really weird noise.

“He said she’s been sick all over the floor and was barking like a seal.

“Proper weird noise like she couldn’t breath.

“He said 'It’s nothing, she’s probably got trapped wind'.

“He laid her down on her back and she stopped breathing.

“He done the mouth and nose thing and she was fine after that.

“I was there when she made that funny noise.

“He checked and done the mouth and nose thing and she was fine.

“Since that day she’s been a bit whingey and a bit cry-y and a bit scared to bring up her wind.

“He only did the mouth and nose thing and she started breathing.

“He thought she was choking on her own sick.

“I called my mum and said Holly was barking like a seal.”

The Argus: Michael Roe in a black suit, wearing handcuffsMichael Roe in a black suit, wearing handcuffs

The jury has been told expert medical evidence shows the two-month premature baby suffered brain injuries on at least three different occasions.

Sally Howes QC for the Crown said on the balance of evidence the prosecution believe Mr Roe inflicted the fatal injuries.

Tate said: “When the police came to the hospital, Mike told me not to mention it.

“He said it wasn’t important.

“He said not to mention it at all because it wasn’t important”

Tate had been in care before moving in with Roe.

She described their relationship as complicated.

She was worried Social Services would take her baby away or Roe would throw her out of the house if anybody found out their baby had stopped breathing.

Tate said: “I called my friend and told her.

“I said to Mike I hadn’t because I didn’t want him to chuck me out.”

The Argus: Tiffany Tate and Michael RoeTiffany Tate and Michael Roe

The jury heard Tate was worried Roe would have custody of their baby if they separated.

Tate told police Roe said she would not be allowed to attend the funeral if the couple separated.

Her support worker, Sarah Beal told the court: “Michael Roe said if she left, she wouldn’t be allowed to go to the funeral.

“She said they had an argument and he said if she moved away, she wouldn’t be allowed to go to the funeral.

“She took it seriously. She was upset.”

The young mum admitted she said she had felt like throwing her premature baby against the wall.

In police interview, she said: “I didn’t throw her against the wall.

“I just said Why are you crying, what am I doing wrong?

“Sometimes I want to throw you across the wall but I love you too much to do that.

“I was struggling.

“I said to her what am I doing wrong?

“I’m doing the best I can, you need to help me out.

“Because she’s a baby, she can’t really help me out.”

Tate said she asked her former partner for help.

“I thought he was setting me up to fail,” she said.

Tate and Roe deny murder and allowing the other to kill their baby.

The trial at Lewes Crown Court continues.