MUR­DER ON THE MUR­RAY Tale of tragedy un­folds in court My other son was on the bank scream­ing at me while I put his brother un­der the water

The Riverine Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By Vivi­enne Duck

THE trial of the woman charged with mur­der­ing her five-year-old son by drown­ing him in the Mur­ray at Moama, and at­tempt­ing to mur­der her nine-year-old son the same way, has re­vealed an in­cred­i­bly sad and dis­turb­ing tale of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, drug abuse and men­tal health.

Be­fore the ac­cused’s nine-year-old son’s au­dio ev­i­dence was pre­sented to the court his mother was ex­cused from the hear­ing by Jus­tice Richard But­ton.

Start­ing on Mon­day in the Wagga Wagga Supreme Court, the trial be­fore Jus­tice Bur­ton is by judge alone.

The woman on trial has sat cry­ing, rock­ing and play­ing with her hair through the ma­jor­ity of pro­ceed­ings to date.

Read­ing ev­i­dence to the court Jus­tice But­ton has used the phrase “I had to kill my ba­bies” more than 20 times as wit­ness af­ter wit­ness said this was what the ac­cused had said to them in the hours af­ter the mur­der.

But many in the court were deeply af­fected when, speak­ing in his pre-recorded ev­i­dence, her sur­viv­ing son said “mum told me to put my head in the water and she dunked me”.

The boy, who was eight at the time of the mur­der on March 2 last year, told a po­lice of­fi­cer

from a hos­pi­tal bed he be­gan to “suf­fo­cate” when his mother held him un­der.

The court heard the De­niliquin woman, who can­not be named for le­gal rea­sons, sat on top of her eight-year-old son un­der the water but he kept “fight­ing her”.

“He was still alive, he is so strong,” the woman said in a po­lice in­ter­view. “I was try­ing to put him out of his pain. “My other son was on the bank scream­ing at me while I put his brother un­der the water.”

The woman then grabbed her five-year-old son from the bank and put him face first un­der the water.

She told the po­lice he was wear­ing his “lit­tle Bat­man out­fit” at the time.

The court heard when she felt him stop fight­ing she “pushed him out into the river”.

Ev­i­dence has been pre­sented that the mother was delu­sional and thought killing them was “sav­ing them”.

She has pleaded not guilty to both charges by way of men­tal health.

In the Crown’s open­ing the court heard the el­dest boy who sur­vived had told po­lice he asked to be saved af­ter a dog at­tacked him while his mother was at­tempt­ing to drown him.

“I think I’m the only sur­vivor,” he said to a wit­ness.

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