Teenage mum killed her 4-month-old baby because motherhood did not fulfill her fantasy of a 'perfect little world'
A teenage mother who murdered her four-month-old baby girl by violently shaking her has been sentenced to life in prison in Western Australia. Cassandra Rose Doohan reportedly killed her baby because her "fantasy" of motherhood did not meet her expectations.
Doohan was 18 when she committed the crime by "vigorously" shaking her baby Anastasia, which inflicted catastrophic head and neck injuries on the child. The incident occurred in May 2017 at her home in Capel, in Perth's South West region.
Reports stated that the child's father found her "floppy" body in her cot after he came out of the shower. She was rushed to the Princess Margaret Hospital in Perth, where she succumbed to injuries two days later.
The WA Supreme Court, on Tuesday, September 10, sentenced Doohan to at least 13 years in prison before she can be eligible for parole. The court heard that child protection had become involved with the family weeks before Anastasia's death after the four-month-old was spotted with bruises.
Doohan, who had originally pleaded not guilty to murder, later admitted her crime. Justice Anthony Derrick, during the hearing, accepted that the mother had not intended to kill her child but she did intend to cause bodily injury likely to endanger her life.
He added that the child was vulnerable and as her mother, it was Doohan's duty to care for her. However, she inflicted considerable violence on the child and then did not get help until her partner realized that something was wrong.
Justice Derrick, while referring to the victim impact statement, also said that Anastasia's father suffered from mood swings, panic attacks, and depression because of the incident.
Meanwhile, Defence counsel Seamus Rafferty told the court that Doohan had a sadistic drug-using father and wanted to have a baby because she had created a fantasy of a "perfect little world" for herself. However, she soon realized that the responsibility of being a mother was very different, Rafferty said, according to Daily Mail.
Justice Derrick, in his sentencing, said: "You had a poor start in life. You were focused on what you believed a baby would give to you," however, he added that Doohan soon became frustrated and resentful towards Anastasia and never formed a bond. "This is a terribly tragic case."