The Courier-Mail

Sister may have escaped little Sidney’s sad fate

Police to investigat­e if little Sidney was to be only victim

- DAVID MURRAY THOMAS CHAMBERLIN

A FATHER charged with murdering his six-year-old daughter while she slept was about to take the life of his other daughter when his wife disturbed him – but he assured her that he was just comforting the eight-year-old after a nightmare.

Police are now investigat­ing whether the man – who it is understood was facing financial difficulti­es – planned to wipe out his entire family before taking his own life. But after being disturbed, he drove away from the family’s rented home in Brisbane suburb Kedron in his Mercedes-Benz – leaving his shattered wife to discover the truth hours later, when she found six-year-old Sidney dead in the little girl’s bed.

As her father’s case was heard and quickly adjourned in court yesterday, tributes flowed for lit- tle Sidney – a keen martial arts student with a bubbly personalit­y who loved to sing and play the guitar.

“She was a great kid,” jiu-jitsu instructor Bruno Lemos said.

“Sidney won’t share any more smiles or happiness with us (but) some people don’t need to stay in our lives for too long to make themselves unforgetta­ble.”

At the family’s rented fivebedroo­m home in affluent innersubur­ban Kedron yesterday, neighbours and friends left flowers and notes for Sidney and her older sister.

A FATHER was about to take the life of another of his daughters when he was disturbed by his wife – but assured her that he was just comforting the girl after a nightmare.

The 52-year-old allegedly murdered his six-year-old daughter and was about to turn on her older sister in the girls’ shared bedroom when his wife was woken by a commotion in the up-market Kedron home.

His sleepy wife Maria allowed the couple’s eight-yearold daughter to sleep in their bed for the rest of the night, The Courier-Mail understand­s.

The move may have saved the eldest daughter’s life and that of her mother, with police investigat­ing whether the father planned to wipe out his whole family and take his own life.

The shattered mum only discovered the truth later in the morning when she found six-year-old daughter Sidney dead in her bed and her hus- band missing, police will allege.

Tributes flowed yesterday for little Sidney, a keen martial arts student with a bubbly personalit­y who loved singing and playing the guitar, as new details also emerged of the family’s possible financial difficulti­es.

On the surface the family had the appearance of success: a five-bedroom, three bathroom house with swimming pool in the city’s inner north; a Mercedes-Benz 4WD in the driveway; and their girls enrolled in a private school.

But the house was rented and Sidney’s father, a mining executive and budding property developer, had been struggling to find work.

The father told former neighbours the family was moving out of their previous rented home at Clayfield around the start of the year because they had bought at Kedron. “He was rude to me,” recalled one former neighbour, without elaboratin­g.

But the Kedron property was a rental too and it appears they had been slightly downgradin­g, saving $80 a week through the move, according to published rental prices for the two properties.

Twice a week the young girls would go to Brazilian jiujitsu classes at the Alliance gym at Albion, where Sidney last year earnt a trophy for being the spirit of the club for her happy approach to life.

“She was a great kid. I couldn’t have asked for a better student,” instructor Bruno Lemos said.

“Both parents used to bring them in. Sometimes it would only be the mum but dad would bring them in more often. He

was very keen for them to keep going in martial arts. He thought they needed to know how to defend themselves.”

Classes were cancelled at the gym yesterday and Mr Lemos wrote a tribute to his student on Facebook.

“I’m very sad to say, today we lost one of our precious Little Eagles, Sidney won’t share any more smiles or happiness with us,” he wrote.

“However, some people don’t need to stay in our lives for too long to make themselves unforgetta­ble. May God bless you Sidney, you will always be part of our Team and we will always remember you.”

YouTube videos posted by Sidney’s mother earlier this year show her playing a guitar and singing songs including the hit Let it Go from Frozen.

In another video she sings about her love for her pet.

“Hello everybody I’m sing- ing the song called I love my dog. I hope you like it. Come and listen now,” Sidney says in the video.

The family had moved from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Brisbane in March 2013.

“I am interested in making new connection­s and finding some playmates for my youngest child, Sidney, who is 3 years old. I am interested in meeting people who speak English as well as Spanish,” Maria wrote online at the time.

After their move from Clayfield the family had set about settling in at Kedron, attending a neighbour’s Christmas-in-July party where they did not raise any alarm bells.

Along with her husband, Maria is listed on online social groups including one for people who speak English as a second language. It is believed no history of domestic viol- ence or mental illness had been uncovered, although investigat­ions have only just begun.

An autopsy was carried out yesterday but police have not released a cause of death. Forensics officers completed their work at the house.

The 52-year-old has been charged with his daughter’s murder. He did not appear when his case was heard in Southport Magistrate­s Court.

His solicitor Jenna Johnsen asked to have her client’s matter moved to Brisbane Magistrate­s Court for mention on September 28. He is expected to appear via video link.

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 ??  ?? SHOCK: Sidney and her pink guitar; two women (left) and a schoolgirl bring flowers to the house; police leave with a bag of evidence. Pictures: Jono Searle
SHOCK: Sidney and her pink guitar; two women (left) and a schoolgirl bring flowers to the house; police leave with a bag of evidence. Pictures: Jono Searle

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