Monday, February 11, 2013

Baby Death Fatality Hot Car Melbourne Mother sentenced 4 years Jail, 9 Months Non Parole Herald Sun

Jail for mum who pleaded guilty to manslaughter after leaving her baby daughter in hot car

Michelle Nguyen
A WOMAN who killed her baby daughter by leaving her in a hot car as temperatures soared could be released from jail before Christmas.
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Michelle Nguyen, 21, had been warned many times not to leave baby Thy Tran in the vehicle alone, with the final warning delivered on the day the infant died.
Today she was sentenced to four years' imprisonment, with a non-parole period of nine months.
The court heard that for Nguyen, leaving baby Thy in the car had become a habit of convenience.
She would regularly bundle 10-month-old Thy and another daughter in the car and drive them around in an effort to get them to fall asleep.
After she fell asleep Nguyen would often leave young Thy alone in the car.
Police said the dangerous practice had led to a falling-out between Nguyen and her mother over the care of her children shortly before the tragedy
Nguyen's mother told police she had found Thy home alone three times.
On many other occasions the child had been found in the car alone.
Even on the morning she died, Thy had been rescued from the car by a neighbour who heard crying.
Sentencing Nguyen this morning, Supreme Court justice Betty King said the fact Nguyen had failed to heed several warnings was inexcusable.
She said she had imposed a “much lower than normal” non-parole period to allow Nguyen to maximise her prospects of rehabilitation.
“Your failure to listen or to heed any of the warnings that you were given in relation to leaving this infant in the car will be undoubtedly something you will remember for the rest of your life,” she said.
“She had been found hot, distressed and crying on previous occasions.
“You were Thy’s mother and she was totally dependent upon you for her safety and protection.
“Thy was unable to remove herself from the restraints that held her in the child seat, and remove herself from that hot environment, or even regulate her own temperature.”
Thy died in November 2011 after being left in a car in a Glenroy driveway.
On the day her daughter died, Nguyen had taken her two children for a drive to try to get them to fall asleep.
On her return home, she removed her older child.
She checked the sleeping Thy after about 15 minutes, then went inside, intending to return 15 minutes later.
But she fell asleep watching TV. She woke in a panic, and found Thy unresponsive.
Though the temperature outside was 27C, Thy's body temperature was 41.5C.
Tests later revealed the temperature inside the vehicle could have reached more than 47C.
Nguyen pleaded guilty to manslaughter over the death.
Lawyers for Nguyen had argued she should be freed on a community corrections order, with strict conditions including community work, curfews and tough reporting requirements.
Saul Holt, for Nguyen, argued that she had had a tough upbringing, surrounded by drug users and traffickers, which led to a heroin addiction.
He said Nguyen had been a good mother who had made "the mistake she will regret for the rest of her life''.
Justice King said there was no evidence that Nguyen had been a bad mum but said the tragedy had been “entirely preventable”.
She said the tragedy highlighted the dangers of leaving children alone.
“It cannot be stressed enough that young children are vulnerable, incapable beings who are entirely dependent on their carers,” she said.
“Parenting is not an easy task, but if a person decides to take upon that task, with it comes the duty to care for that totally dependent human being.”

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