Foster carer pleads guilty to acts of child cruelty

A QUEENSLAND foster carer has admitted she cruelly failed to provide adequate clothing, accommodation or care to a 12-year-old girl.

The 42-year-old woman pleaded guilty in Brisbane District Court on Monday to cruelty to a child between December 2007 and June 2008, at Woodridge, south of Brisbane.

The plea came unexpectedly as the case was set down for pre-trial evidence recording following a Court of Appeal decision to order a trial.

The woman had pleaded guilty in 2011 to torturing the girl but had her 4.5 year jail sentence set aside when the appeal court found a miscarriage of justice.

Details of the latest allegations the woman has pleaded guilty to will not be revealed until the sentencing hearing on a date to be fixed.

Justice Fraser, in the appeal court judgment from February 2012, said the Crown had alleged the Grade 7 student was only allowed to shower once a week and was forced to sleep on a bed frame without a mattress, in a room without any light or windows, beneath the family home.

He said the child alleged her foster carer would tie her clothing at night so she could not remove them or move freely and would lock the door which meant she was forced to soil herself.

Other allegations included the girl being forced to wash her soiled clothes in the laundry sink, using grey water from the washing machine, before she could go to school.

The Court of Appeal judgment also spoke of not allowing the girl to eat inside the house or have social contact with other children.

The accused woman successfully argued she did not get adequate legal advice and pleaded guilty without understanding the nature of the allegations against her.

In affidavits to the court, the woman said the girl kept lighting fires that could have burned the house down, that she stole belongings from everyone in the house when they slept, she broke possessions, ripped her own clothes and killed animals.

The woman swore she lived in constant fear of what the girl would do to her, her family and her belongings.

"She swore that she did not lock the (girl) in the room to be nasty or to cause her physical or emotional pain, but to keep the (girl) safe and to keep the other people in the house and their belongings safe," the judgment read.



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