Epileptic girl, 4, left in filth on floor as punishment
THE stench of faeces and urine overcame police when they unlocked a door to reveal a naked four-year-old girl shivering on the ground underneath a soiled sheet.
The epileptic child's 21-year-old Central Queensland mother took to locking her in the room repeatedly as punishment.
The walls were smeared with faeces and there was no bed or furniture in the room, only rags on the ground.
Elsewhere in the house there were spare beds, plasma TVs, a PlayStation and cans of rum and coke lying empty.
To hide the treatment of her child from friends, the woman cordoned off the area with a sheet and pushed a towel in the crack between the door and the floor to cover the stench.
She entertained downstairs and refused to allow anyone near the room unless they needed to use the bathroom.
But Crown prosecutor Julie Marsden yesterday said in the Rockhampton District Court that one friend had ignored the mother's warning when she was taking her own daughter to the toilet and heard the child's pleas to let her out.
The mother sat with her head bowed in the dock as Ms Marsden recounted the friend's report to police in September 2011.
The friend said of the 20 times she had been to the house, she saw the girl twice.
When police found the girl they called an ambulance to take her to the hospital.
The girl was given a clean bill of health - physically.
But a director of pediatrics who assessed the girl later said she could suffer wide-ranging effects from the treatment she suffered at her mother's hands. The effects he listed included post traumatic stress disorder, behavioural problems, separation anxiety, aggressiveness and difficulty sleeping.
The mother, whose name has not been reported to protect the identity of her daughter, pleaded guilty to deprivation of liberty.
She has undergone counselling and the girl was returned to her care in December last year.
Judge Paul Smith told the mother sending her to jail would negatively affect her daughter.
So he put her on three years probation and ordered that her parenting remain supervised by the Department of Child Safety and that she complete more counselling.
Central Queensland mother
Charge: Deprivation of liberty
Sentence: Three years probation