Mother’s deadly mistake which killed baby
A CHARTERS Towers mother jailed after her baby son was left alone in a bathtub to drown had delegated the responsibility of his baths to an older child, a court has heard.
Kandita Rose Kattenberg, 29, faced the Supreme Court in Townsville to be sentenced for manslaughter over the death of nine-month-old Carlyle on November 9, 2016.
Crown prosecutor Nathan Crane said Kattenberg, a single mother of five, regularly got her 10-year-old son to bathe Carlyle and had done so on the afternoon he died.
"This was not a blip on the radar … this is a consequence of a pattern of conduct where it was only a matter of time," he said.
Mr Crane said on this day Kattenberg's 10-year-old son had been bathing Carlyle, as well as his three-year-old sister.
Mr Crane said it was Kattenburg who called the boy away from the bathroom.
"He got involved in a game of tiggy with his brother and friends and didn't return," he said.
The court heard the bath started at 4.10pm and paramedics were called at 4.55pm and it was unknown how long Carlyle had been alone in the bath.
Mr Crane said Carlyle was found floating in the tub with the water running, out of his bath seat, and it was possible the three-year-old may have turned the tap back on after it was turned off. The court heard that Carlyle had grown too big for his bath seat and that the bath tub's drain was blocked and water would build up even if the plug wasn't being used.
Defence barrister Scott Geeves said Kattenberg did not have any intention to harm Carlyle.
"The pressures of the day here involved not only the care of the five children but also playing host as it were to other members of the family," he said. "It wasn't a party we are concerned with today, it was a family gathering."
Mr Geeves said Kattenberg was "overwhelmed with the responsibility and guilt of what took place".
"Importantly, she accepts roundly that allowing a 10-year-old to supervise a nine-month-old child was unacceptable," he said.
The court heard Kattenberg's other four children now lived with their fathers.
"She loved him, she still loves him and one day she certainly hopes to atone for her departure from that standard of care by reuniting with her children and being the mum she's always hoped and wished she'd be," Mr Geeves said.
Justice David North said the baby's death was a result of the dangerous bath time routine set up by Kattenberg in her home.
"It is a serious example of neglect leading to the death of an infant," he said.
"The criminal neglect was patent and obvious, leaving an infant unsupervised in a bath routinely." Kattenberg was sentenced to four years' imprisonment, suspended after 12 months for an operational period of four years.