“She is accused of leaving her 13-month old baby alone in a bath for about 15 minutes and not contacting emergency services, who were only called when her husband returned home 30 minutes after the boy’s lifeless body was pulled out of the water.”
Murder accused’s daughter ‘abused in CYF care’, court told
NZPA Last updated 19:28 11/08/2010
A woman accused of murdering her baby son was on antidepressant medication because her daughter, 5, was sexually abused while in Child Youth and Family care, a court has been told.
The woman, who cannot be name, has pleaded not guilty in the High Court at Auckland to a charge of murder.
She is accused of leaving her 13-month old baby alone in a bath for about 15 minutes and not contacting emergency services, who were only called when her husband returned home 30 minutes after the boy’s lifeless body was pulled out of the water.
In her police statement read in court today, the woman said her five-year-old daughter was sexually abused by a 13-year old boy while in a Child Youth and Family [CYF] care home.
The child was put in the care home, after it was decided the mother was not fit to look after the children.
Her husband was not permitted to see his family because he had assaulted his wife.
But the accused said her mood improved when she did not have the pressure of looking after the children, and voluntarily gave them up to CYF for six months.
“It felt good to start work and to be busy and my personal worth began to grow,” she said.
She went through a “roller coaster of emotions'” when her children returned home and could not sleep properly.
“I was not feeling very emotionally strong,” she said.
On the morning of November 8, 2009, two days after the children returned home, she decided to wash her baby in the big bath, not the baby bath as she usually did.
She filled the bath to about his hip line, rubbed him with soap and left him on his own to prepare her daughter’s breakfast in the kitchen.
Her son had become good at sitting on his own, she said.
But he was dead when she returned 15 minutes later.
“As I walked in the door I saw that ‘my son’ was lying face down in the water and I panicked.
“I picked him up and he felt heavier than normal. He was limp and his face was blue. I knew at that time that he was dead.”
Earlier today, the woman’s CYF supervisor Shakti Adams said an oversight meant a parental assessment was not carried before the children returned to live with their parents.
There was also supposed to be a family group conference held before they went home, but this also did not take place.
The decisions to return the children to their parents was made in a meeting of professionals – social workers, doctors and CYF workers.