I think about the first moments I held my angel Annalise and wish I'd never left that house.. I am haunted; EXCLUSIVE MUM'S TORMENT OVER FIRE THAT KILLED PRECIOUS BABY.
THE heartbroken mum of a nine-month-old baby killed in her blazing home yesterday told how she is haunted by her daughter's death.
Kareen Middleton spoke about the loss of little Annalise after her husband William walked free after being accused of their baby's murder.
She admitted she is wracked with guilt after leaving Annalise with her husband on the night she died.
Kareen was devastated when Middleton walked from the High Court in Aberdeen and claimed justice was not done.
Kareen, 24, of Brae, Shetland, said: "Annalise was my angel.
She was a dream baby from the moment she was born.
She slept through the night straight away and was one of those babies mums dream about having in an ideal world.
"She was such a peaceful child and so lovely, with big sparkly blue eyes.
"As she got older, she would just sit happily playing away with her toys, that's how content she was.
She was everything to me.
"All I'd ever dreamed about from an early age was having a family of my own. I was one of six children myself and all I wanted to do was have my own family.
"I've never been like other girls, interested in a career. I'm just the type of person who wants to stay at home and love my kids.
"Now Annalise has gone and I feel empty."
Kareen says the hardest task she faced was breaking the news to her two other children, Christina, six, and four-year-old James.
She said: "In the days after the fire Christina looked at me and asked me if her little sister was dead.
"I said yes and started crying, but she said 'Don't worry mummy, Annalise is with the angels. When we were preparing for Annalise's funeral, my daughter insisted on picking a big yellow bow to go with the flowers.
"I know her favourite colour is pink but she was choosing something she thought Annalise would like.
"James has also been badly affected but he's a big comfort.
"He came up to me, put his arms around me and said 'I'm going to sing mummy because it makes you smile'.
"If it wasn't for my two remaining children life wouldn't be worth living.
"They and my family are what keeps me strong.
"Losing a child is the worst thing that can happen to a mother.
Annalise had a right to open her first birthday present and walk her first steps, but it's all been taken away from her."
The court heard how Kareen and Middleton had been drinking on September 20 last year when a row broke out and she left to go for a walk.
When she returned the house was ablaze and Kareen had to be held back by neighbours as she fought desperately to reach her daughter.
A firefighter found the baby lying in a cot upstairs and carried her outside, but she was pronounced dead at the scene.
Middleton was found lying fully clothed in his ground-floor bedroom.
Fire investigator Stuart Mortimore told the court that the fires were almost certainly started deliberately and William was later charged with his baby's murder.
Kareen said: "I wish I had never left that house but how was I supposed to know something like that would happen?
"I could have had no idea.
William and I had been arguing and I just wanted to get away and let things cool down, I wanted the row to stop.
"I didn't think it was right we were fighting when the children were upstairs.
"I could hardly believe it when William was charged.
"It was hard to accept and I can't believe the not proven verdict either.
"After hearing the evidence I was shocked, really shocked at the final verdict.
"As far as I'm concerned justice has not been done."
Kareen met Middleton while working as a cleaner at the Somewhere Else nightclub in Lerwick, Shetland, where he was a barman.
The couple quickly fell in love and got married in August 2006.
Annalise was born the following December.
Kareen refuses to go into details about her relationship with Middleton "out of respect for Annalise" but she told in court how his attitude towards their daughter changed six weeks after her birth.
She said: "He never did anything with her after that.
"He never put her to bed or fed her. He never did anything.
"I kept asking him what changed but he would only say he was tired."
Kareen's doctor has diagnosed her with post-traumatic stress disorder and she says she remembers very little about the night she lost her daughter. She said: "I can hardly remember a thing about that night or the two weeks that follow.
"I am haunted by what happened.
"Trying to sleep at night is the worst thing, I just can't stop thinking about Annalise.
"I wanted a massive family and Annalise was a much-wanted baby.
"I still think about those first moments I held her after she was born.
"I'd had a pretty difficult pregnancy, suffering from a condition called SPD which causes a lot of pain in the pelvic area but when Annalise was born I forgot about all that.
"She was full of mischief and a few weeks before she died she had learned to stand against the couch and furniture. She didn't need her baby-walker any more and would climb out and use the attached tray to get up on to the sofa.
"She would also go around opening drawers and looking at me with a great big cheeky smile as if to say, 'Mummy, I know I shouldn't be doing this.' "A lot of my photos of Annalise were destroyed in the fire and all I have are memories really.
"Watching her grow up was wonderful.
"From the start she seemed so alert and was looking all around within minutes of arriving.
"She was just lovely."
Middleton last week issued a statement maintaining his innocence and telling of his devastation over Annalise's death.
Treasured memory: One of the few snaps of Kareen with Annalise; Changed man: Middleton and Annalise, top, in last photo of the baby a week before fire and, above, he leaves a court hearing in cuffs