Mother and girlfriend ruthlessly whip starving toddler with coathanger, force him to eat noodles off the floor
The women were sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail after pleading guilty to 18 counts of assault and one of child cruelty
A toddler was found with coathanger-shaped bruises on his body when authorities rescued him after he was beaten and starved by his mother and her girlfriend.
Upon further examination, the helpless three-year-old was found to have bruises on his head, scalp, neck, abdomen, chest, genitals, back, arms, legs, and buttocks. Authorities were tipped off by a neighbor who became concerned after hearing the women, who have not been named for legal reasons, arguing in the presence of a child who appeared scared.
Now, his 25-year-old mother and her 29-year-old partner, who appeared at the Brisbane District Court this week, have been thrown behind bars over the "vile and abhorrent" case of child abuse. Police said that when they found the toddler, he was clearly malnourished and was eating noodles off the floor.
A string of high profile abuse cases has been reported in recent weeks, thereby thrusting Child Protection Services in Queensland into the spotlight.
Addressing the court, Crown prosecutor Rebecca Marks said the toddler had a "wasted appearance" and was suffering from chronic malnutrition. "He was sitting on the floor at the time (police arrived) eating a bowl of cold noodles, as well as eating off the floor," reports said.
The child was heavily bruised and had abrasions and lacerations all over his body. Some of the bruises reportedly suggested that a belt buckle, coathanger, and "other weapons" were used on him. The two women originally lied to authorities claiming the toddler "bruised easily" and that there were innocent explanations for his injuries. But their claims were dismissed outright by Brisbane District Court Judge Brad Farr, who described them as "self-serving nonsense." The behavior was described by Judge Farr as "vile, abhorrent, incomprehensible, and shameful in the extreme."
Prosecutor Marks condemned the couple in light of their role as care-givers for the boy, noting their "serious and heinous offending." "Those who are meant to protect him ultimately failed him when he was most vulnerable and needed their love, care, and attention," she told the court. When the toddler was found, he weighed only 13kg and hadn't been examined by a doctor for more than a year, the report said.
During that time, both women and the child's two siblings reportedly received bulk-billed medical attention.
According to a victim impact statement by child safety officers, the boy still hoarded food – which was consistent with him having starved "for a period of time."
According to the Courier-Mail, the officers found that the abuse had resulted in the child suffering developmental delays and hindered speech, which in turn led to him having to be held back from school for a year.
At the time of the abuse, the couple had become heavy users of the drug ice, their lawyers told the court.
They also added that both the women had been badly bullied at school and that in one instance the boy's mother was pinned down to the ground by six girls who cut off her hair. Nonetheless, the women pleaded guilty to 18 counts of assault and one of child cruelty. Judge Farr subsequently sentenced them to three and a half years in jail.