Baby girl died in car, dad jailed

A FATHER couldn’t imagine that after excitedly describing his son counting to 10 for the first time he would be responsible for his infant daughter’s death just hours later.

His daughter, aged just nine months, sat in the back seat his car in Chalmers Street, North Rockhampton, in temperatures of up to 48 degrees on the morning and afternoon of May 26 last year.

Her father, 39, had intended to take her to childcare, but instead took her to his unit and left her alone in the car, while he spent almost six hours inside trying to sell an item through the newspaper as well as working on two university assignments.

At 8am that morning he had dropped his son off at daycare before picking up his daughter from his ex-partner, from whom he had split over his drinking behaviour.

Almost six hours after leaving her inside the car he reversed out the driveway and saw his daughter still in her seat. The man jumped out of the car and opened the door.

He cried to a neighbour: “Help me I’ve killed my daughter. I’ve killed (name deleted).”

His neighbour called an ambulance, but it was too late and the baby was declared dead of dehydration at the scene. He told police he had “a lot on his mind”.

Yesterday the Supreme Court at Rockhampton heard it was not the first time the man had admitted to leaving his daughter in the car alone.

The man, whose name was suppressed, choked back tears yesterday as Crown prosecutor Brendan Campbell read the details.

Justice Duncan McMeekin said he accepted that it was not a deliberate act and the man had “simply forgot” his daughter was in the car.

Justice McMeekin said he accepted the man felt “genuine and heartfelt remorse”, but said he must serve some time in prison to mark the importance “of the duties parents take on”.

He said the death had a “devastating impact” on the family, but despite that the mother said she had come to appreciate nothing could bring her daughter back.

After pleading guilty to manslaughter, the man was sentenced to four years in prison with a non-parole period of six months.

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