Mum’s words after allegedly drowning son
WARNING: distressing content.
A southwestern Sydney woman told her husband “I’m sorry” after drowning their four-month-old son inside their family home, a court has been told.
The woman was charged with the murder of her infant son after she was found sitting next to his lifeless body inside their Oran Park home in May 2021.
The court has been told her husband made the horrific discovery when he came home on the afternoon of May 20, 2021.
The woman is facing a hearing in the NSW Supreme Court, where she pleaded not guilty to murder, with the Crown prosecution telling the court it was agreed that a defence of mental health impairment had been made out.
Wearing a black jacket and a grey blouse, the woman said “not guilty” as she was arraigned before Justice Richard Button at Darlinghurst Courthouse on Monday morning.
The woman, who cannot be identified, killed her son by holding him under water and drowning him, according to a Statement of Agreed Facts tendered to the court on Monday.
The couple had moved into the house on May 15 – just five days before the tragic events.
According to court documents, in early 2021 she spoke to friends about suffering postnatal depression and about being tired and worried about financial issues.
In February, she searched the internet for information about anxiety and mental health support organisation Beyond Blue and the following month she was referred to a psychologist.
In the preceding months, she also spoke to friends about struggling to care for her child and those close to her observed she was “not herself”, according to the statement of agreed facts.
A month before the tragedy, she confided with friends and family members that she was battling with suicidal thoughts.
According to the statement of agreed facts, the woman’s husband returned home about 4pm on May 21 and found her sitting on the edge of the bath.
When he asked where their son was, she replied “I’m sorry” before finding his son lying face up in the bathtub and not breathing.
When he asked “what did you do”, she again said “I’m sorry” and told him that she had drowned their son.
He called triple-0 and performed CPR until paramedics arrived.
When ambulance officers arrived, the woman told them words to the effect of “I drowned him” or “I killed him”.
She also told her husband “I’m going to go away for a long time”.
The boy was taken to hospital but was pronounced dead.
When officers arrived at the scene, she was asked by officers: “Can you just explain to me again what you just said?”
“I drowned my son,” she replied, according to the statement of agreed facts.
Asked why she had drowned her son, she said “Cause I need to go away” and “I need to escape my life”.
She also told police that she had previously tried to drown her son.
She told a psychological registrar that “I didn’t know how to function or to do things … it was just my way out” and that she had struggled to take care of her child.
After killing her son, she told her psychologist that she only took her antidepressants for two-three days but stopped because she did not like taking tablets.
She was transferred to a mental health facility as an involuntary patient in late May, 2021.
Crown prosecutor Fiona Gray on Monday told the court that it was agreed that the defence of mental health impairment had been made out.
Defence barrister Richard Pontello SC told the court on Monday that she was suffering a disturbance of emotion, judgment and behaviour at the time.
“The accused was entirely driven by her highly distorted thought process and severe mood disturbance,” Mr Pontello told the court.
Justice Button noted that prior to the incident, the woman was heard saying “troubling things”.
He said there was evidence that while the woman’s husband was highly distressed when police and paramedics arrived, she was seen to be “bizarrely calm”, describing the event as a “tragedy”.
Justice Button will hand down his decision on the matter later this week.