A Queensland mother has dodged immediate jail time after being convicted of assaulting her baby girl by cutting off the infant’s air supply in “an attack on a defenceless victim”.
A Brisbane Supreme Court jury on Wednesday found Ashleigh Meagan Watterson not guilty of two counts of attempted murder, as well as an alternative charge of grievous bodily harm.
But the 30-year-old was convicted of assaulting four-month-old Sarah in October 2010.
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Justice Martin Burns sentenced Watterson to two years’ imprisonment, wholly suspended for a period of five years, on that count.
“This was an attack on a defenceless victim in your sole care and clearly constituted a gross breach of trust,” Justice Burns said in sentencing her for assault occasioning bodily harm.
“This (assault) caused your baby considerable distress and interfered with her health and comfort.”
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The trial had heard after being charged Watterson told police she had been “possessed” and tried to stop Sarah’s breathing on three occasions.
But in her testimony, Watterson said she lied about harming Sarah because she wanted to be “locked up” and spare her Christian family the trauma of criminal proceedings.
“Because I did not want to commit suicide, I thought of a way of ending the whole turmoil for my family,” she said.
Watterson did not comment to waiting media as she walked from the court precinct with her legal team.