A former policewoman attempted to murder her nine-year-old daughter using barbecue gas because she was angry at her FIFO worker husband, a court has heard.
The mother-of-three from Bribie Island, north of Brisbane, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was frustrated at the length of time her husband spent at his job in Darwin in August 2016.
She also felt trapped because she was financially dependent, having previously been a police officer in her native South Africa, the Brisbane Supreme Court was told on Tuesday.
The woman has been jailed for eight years for attempted murder, with parole eligibility set at three-and-a-half years, and may be deported following her prison term.
Prosecutor Jodie Woodridge said the woman, 44, lulled her daughter with a medicine-laced milkshake designed to dull her senses before concocting a tale about the pair having a sleepover in the family’s bathroom for fun.
Once the girl was asleep she closed the door and window and opened the valves of two gas bottles.
“When the (girl) woke up she heard a hissing sound and felt the air was moist,” Woodridge said.
“(She) was dizzy … Her throat was sore and burning and her muscles were aching.”
The court heard the girl asked what the gas bottles were for before shutting the valves.
“The defendant replied because ‘I’m trying to kill you (girl). I am trying to kill us’,” Woodridge said.
The woman returned the bottles to the shed and warned her daughter not to say anything because she would be taken away.
After he returned, the girl’s father fired up his barbecue only to find the gas bottle empty. She later told her dad why.
“When speaking to police, the (girl) said she told her father because he said he was going back to work and she was worried her mother might try something again, saying ‘I don’t really want to die’,” Woodridge said.
The court heard the woman suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, a personality disorder and severe depression.
Asked why she had tried to kill her daughter, the woman, who pleaded guilty, said she was sad they had to live as they did.
She also expressed discontent about the amount of money her husband gave her, Woodridge said.
In sentencing the woman, Justice Sue Brown said her daughter would have to live with the knowledge someone she had trusted and loved tried to kill her.
“The circumstances that led you to do that are affected by mental health issues you were suffering … hopefully, in time, she is going to understand that,” she said.
“And understand that it wasn’t because she did anything wrong … nor because you didn’t love her.”
The court heard it’s likely the woman will eventually be deported for poor character under section 501 of the Migration Act in 2014.
By Aaron Bunch