A YOUNG mum accused of allowing her partner to murder their infant daughter denied choosing him over the life of the baby.

Tiffany Tate said she always put her baby first despite agreeing she did nothing after an incident where baby Holly stopped breathing when she was home alone with dad Michael Roe.

The 22-year-old told a jury she did not mention the incident until after the baby died.

She told the court that former partner Roe, 33, told her not to mention the incident to anybody.

Tate, who was only 19 when Holly was born two months premature, had only recently left care.

She told the court that she feared Social Services would take Holly away if she told anybody she thought Roe had hurt her.

She left the two-month-premature baby alone with Roe while she went for chips.

When she came back, the baby was struggling for breath and Roe gave her mouth-to-mouth, she said.

A week later Holly died from brain damage caused by at least three incidents of violent shaking.

Both parents are accused of murder and allowing the other to kill eight-week-old Holly.

Sally Howes QC for the prosecution asked Tate, who is giving evidence with the help of an intermediary, if she knew what happened to her baby.

Ms Howes said: “Somebody broke Holly’s ribs, was it you?”

Tate said: “No.”

“Somebody shook Holly and caused brain, eye and spinal damage to her body,” Ms Howes asked.

“Was that you?”

“No,” Tate said.

The young mum, who has been described as having learning difficulties, was asked what she did after her baby stopped breathing.

She said she did nothing.

Ms Howes asked her; “Did you think you were protecting her?”

Tate said: “Yes”

She told the jury she thought Roe had hurt her baby.

Ms Howes asked: “Did you think if you stayed there, he might do it again?”

Tate said: “Yes.”

Ms Howes asked her: “Did you chose Michael Roe over Holly?”

Miss Tate said: “No.”

Ms Howes asked her why she thought Social Services would take Holly.

“Because I was in care myself,” she said.

“My family got it inside my head that they would take her away.”

Ms Howes asked her: “Did you think if Mr Roe had been hurting Holly, you should say so?”

Miss Tate said: “Yes.”

The young mum agreed she should have taken the baby to A&E immediately but did nothing.

The Argus: Michael Roe is on trial alongside Tiffany TateMichael Roe is on trial alongside Tiffany Tate

She was asked about another occasion when she thought Roe had hurt the baby.

Tate told police Mr Roe had tried to feed the baby by putting a syringe full of milk up her nose.

She said Roe had taken over the night feeds as she had trouble waking.

“One night, Mike done the night feed,” Miss Tate told police.

“I could hear he was getting impatient and he fed her with a syringe up her nose.

“I went down and said What’s wrong.”

Tate said the baby was distressed.

“When he done that, she was proper screaming,” Tate told police.

Ms Howes asked her: “Did you think she was hurt?”

Tate said: “At first I didn’t know.

“All I could hear was she was crying.”

Ms Howes asked her: “When you saw what he was doing and he said he was going to feed her up her nose, did you say No, Mike, and try to stop him?”

Tate said: “No.”

“Did you think he might harm her,” Ms Howes asked.


Ms Howes asked: “Did you think it was a good thing to let him do anything with Holly when he was losing his temper?”

Tate said: “No because that was putting Holly at risk.”

“Did you do anything to stop him,” Ms Howes asked.


“I’m not sure why.

“He said he didn’t want any help.”

Tate said she had never heard a baby so distressed.

Ms Howes said: “He tells you to go upstairs and you go upstairs having never heard a baby cry like it before?”

“Yes,” Tate said.

“I went back upstairs to bed.”

Tate agreed she should have done more to protect her baby.

Ms Howes asked the young mum why she had chosen to say with Roe and continued to allow him to handle Holly when it was clear she was being harmed.

“A lot of bad things have happened when I wasn’t there or she’s been on her own.

“Yes. I could have done more,” Tate said.

Earlier, the court heard Tate admitted saying she had been so frustrated with trying to feed her newborn, she thought of throwing her against the wall.

Ms Howes asked: “Did you ever get to the state where you did lose your temper and you did throw her against the wall?”

Tate said: “I didn’t.

“I thought about it but I didn’t.”

The jury were told they have a duty to hear the whole case despite new lockdown restrictions.

Tate and Roe both deny murder and allowing the other to kill their baby at the family home in Crowborough, East Sussex in September 2018.

The trial continues.