This mother killed her 4-year-old by forcing her to repeatedly ride a motorbike.

Ashley Polkinghorne and Benjamin McPartland at the Supreme Court

Warning: This post deals with themes of child abuse and may be distressing for some readers.


Four-year-old Chloe Valentine died from severe injuries after being forced to ride a motorbike despite repeatedly crashing it, an inquest heard today.

The inquest also heard little Chloe, from Adelaide, had been surrounded by drugs and squalor and was chronically neglected throughout her short life, the Daily Mail reports.

Chloe’s grandmother, Belinda Valentine, has pleaded pleads for changes within Families SA, which had received 20 notifications of Chloe’s situation prior to her tragic death. Ms Valentine also called for specialised staff training to prevent such deaths, the Daily Mail reports.

The ABC reports a friend of Chloe’s drug-using mother had raised concerns about the woman’s behaviour before Chloe was born.

Previously, Mamamia wrote…

IN court today, Ashley Jean Polkinghorne will reportedly serve at least four years in jail for the manslaughter of her daughter Chloe.

Justice Trish Kelly said that Polkinghorne and her partner Benjamin Robert McPartland laughed as Chloe feel from the bike and failed to call an ambulance when the four-year-old was knocked unconscious.

Polkinghorne was jailed for seven years, with a non-parole term of four years and two months.

Mamamia previously reported:

A court has heard of a mother who forced her four-year-old daughter to ride a 50-kilogram motorbike over and over, while laughing at her daughter and filming her.

A mother who watched her four-year-old slowly die due to injuries sustained while riding the bike, without calling an ambulance until hours later.

A mother who laughed and smoked with her partner outside the hospital while her daughter died from excruciating injuries inside the hospital doors.

The court heard evidence about this four-year-old girl that would break any decent person’s heart.

The court was also told that this mother was not unspeakably cruel, viscous and inhumane. Just stupid.

Ashley Jean Polkinghorne and her partner Benjamin Robert McPartland are awaiting sentencing for manslaughter by criminal negligence, over the death of Polkinghorne’s daughter Chloe.

The Supreme Court in South Australia has heard that Polkinghorne repeatedly forced her daughter to ride a 50-kilogram motorbike in her backyard in Adelaide’s Ingle Farm in January 2012.

During the trial, prosecutor Sandi McDonald, SC, said Chloe was put on the newly purchased motorbike over and over again, across a four-day period between Tuesday and Friday despite sustaining injuries, including two black eyes and significant bruising.

The court heard that Polkinghorne recorded several videos of her daughter falling off the motorbike and her partner McPartland putting her back on.

The couple could be heard laughing in the video.

Ashley Polkinghorne was heard laughing as she filmed Chloe falling off the bike

According to the evidence given, Google searches were made on the couple’s computer on the Friday afternoon for the terms “out cold” and “won’t wake up”.

Several hours after the searches began, an ambulance was called.


During this time, while Chloe lay suffering and in pain, the computer was used again. Ashley Jean Polkinghorne and Benjamin Robert McPartland found time to check Facebook and do their internet banking.

All this while Chloe was dying.

Chloe’s life support was turned off about 7pm the next day.

Both Polkinghorne and McPartland tried to blame each other for Chloe’s death.

Chilling footage of Chloe

In a sentencing hearing yesterday, Justice Trish Kelly said that Chloe was clearly frightened of her mother’s partner.

A video screened to the court of Chloe’s last Christmas Day showed her terrified.

“The footage I’ve seen of that child opening her Christmas presents is one of the most chilling pieces of footage I have ever seen of a child opening Christmas presents. It was utterly chilling,” she said.

“This was a plainly frightened child on Christmas Day.”

Terrified of her home

A similar motorbike to the one Chloe was forced to ride

The court heard Chloe sometimes clung to her grandmother at the end of visits and pleaded not to be sent back home to Polkinghorne and her partner.

Her grandmother told the court that the last time she saw Chloe before her death, Chloe clung to her like a koala until Polkinghorne “snatched” her away.

“Those screams fill my nightmares,” she wrote in her victim impact statement.

“I feel so guilty that I didn’t try harder to get her away from Ben and Ashlee.”

Sinister or just stupid?

Justice Kelly called the crime inflicted on Chloe by her mother and ‘step-dad’ as “sinister”.

When Polkinghorne’s lawyer described the act as stupidity, the judge countered, “Depending on what view you take, it’s more than stupidity at its highest level, there is a sinister element to this. It’s more than neglect,” she said.

“She’s virtually thrown onto the bike at one point.”

Polkinghorne and McPartland’s characters

Chloe’s grandmother, Belinda Valentine, shed more light on Polkinghorne and McPartland during her victim impact statement.

Valentine, mother of Ashley Polkinghorne, said that the lies and half-truths Polkinghorne and McPartland gave to the police after Chloe’s death caused even more pain.

“When those circumstances are shrouded in secrecy and lies, it makes the depth of feelings such as anger, sadness, regret and frustration intensify beyond reason,” she said.

In another sentencing submission from Polkinghorne’s brother, Jake Valentine, the court heard of how Chloe’s mother and partner left the hospital after her life support had been turned off but before the tiny four-year-old died.

According to The Advertiser, he wrote in his submission that Polkinghorne and McPartland were outside the hospital at the time of Chloe’s death saying they were “lucky” that the police had not found the drugs they had in the house.

Her own mother stood outside the hospital laughing and smoking.

Chloe died being held by her grandmother and hearing the whispered words of how much she loved her.

Her mother was nowhere nearby.

The sentencing submissions continue in the Supreme Court.