Australian National News

Girl facing murder charge abused by mum, court told

By GLENIS GREEN
The Australian
7dec99

A GIRL, 12, was sworn at, had her hair pulled and had a teapot thrown at her by her mother who she is accused of murdering, a court heard yesterday.

A continuation of committal proceedings in a special sitting of the Maroochydore Children's Court was told by a family friend that he did not think that mother and daughter "got along very well".

"It didn't seem a loving relationship. She (the mother) would call her (the daughter) 'you bitch, you f...g bitch, f...g little moll' and things like that," the man said. He and his wife were friends with the mother and daughter.

"In one incident, something was thrown at (the girl) – a teapot."

The man said the girl never seemed to argue or fight back.

"She just wore it," he said.

"She was a quiet kid, she appeared to be spoilt by her mother and didn't like it when she didn't get her own way ... not spoilt in a loving way, but her mother buying things for her."

The girl, who cannot be named because of her age, was facing a third continuation of committal proceedings which began in June and were adjourned again in August.

Accompanied to court by Families Department staff, she has been charged with murdering her mother, 48, at their Mapleton home on October 10 last year.

Police said then that the woman had been found lying on her bed about 9pm with a single gunshot wound to her head.

The girl, now 13, is understood to be the youngest person to be charged with murder in Queensland court history.

Wearing a long blue floral dress and striped cardigan with her blonde hair pulled back in a clip, she spent most of the day's proceedings doodling on a notepad.

The girl is deaf in her left ear, with only 30percent hearing in her right ear, and wore a hearing aid for most of the afternoon.

The court heard from friends, neighbours and teachers that the girl was usually polite, quietly spoken and well behaved, while her mother was a heavy amphetamine abuser frequently affected by drugs. She sometimes spent the whole day in bed, often ordering her daughter to fetch things for her.

Friends said the girl did not react to the orders or abuse, but simply used to leave the house and visit neighbours to escape.

The court was also told the mother had shown friends her old .22 bolt action rifle which she kept in her bedroom – even giving a shooting display into a nearby lake.

The court had heard previously that the mother's abuse of prescription and other drugs made her prone to hallucinations, psychotic behaviour and paranoia. On occasions she would scream at her daughter to "get the gun" when she imagined there was a prowler.

Teachers yesterday told of a Year 7 girl who stood out because she did not wear a uniform, dyed her hair purple, pink and green, and had frequent absences because of illness.

Teachers rejected the notion she ever displayed aggression or violence. One aide said "she was a lovely girl and I was happy to have her. She was a well-behaved girl and a pleasure to work with".

The hearing continues today.