Mum of starved twins eligible for parole
A SUNNYBANK Hills mum whose twin 18-month-olds died from malnourishment is immediately eligible for parole release from her eight-year jail sentence.
The mother, who cannot be named, pleaded guilty to manslaughter at the tail end of a three-week trial into the deaths of the girl and boy five years ago.
Justice Peter Lyons said the woman, now 35, would normally receive a discount for pleading guilty but she had already been in custody for more than five years so he could simply give immediate access to parole eligibility.
Crown prosecutor Michael Byrne had submitted to Brisbane Supreme Court that the woman intended to kill her "helpless and vulnerable" children.
"The duty of the parent to protect children is fundamental, there has been a gross and catastrophic departure from even the minimum standards expected by the community, in this case," he said.
"What occurred is catastrophic.
"There was period of suffering for these twins from the beginning of April (2008)."
But barrister Soraya Ryan said her client was suffering a major depressive episode and that she did not intend to underfeed them.
She said, in fact, she had bought formula, with higher than usual calories, several times in the lead up to their death to try to sustain them.
Justice Lyons said he could not find the mother intended to kill her children.
But he said she was their primary carer and they were completely dependent on her.
"You had a duty to protect them which you failed to do," he said.
"This is a case of undernourishment, not complete starvation."
Their 11-year-old sister found their decomposing bodies in June, 2008, at their home in Brisbane's south.
Autopsies revealed the boy and girl had died from malnutrition about a week prior.