Anthony and Phurithee Murphy were only going to a movie.
They wouldn’t be long. It was a long overdue night out, the new parents usually preferring to stay in with their 10-month-old daughter.
So, when a few hours later, they picked their daughter, Chloe up from the home of babysitter Ketapat Jenkins in Kensington, Melbourne, they were shocked with what they found.
Their 10-month-old, who they say had been in good spirits when they left her, limp and unresponsive.
Ketapat Jenkins, herself a mother of two young boys, answered the door to the Murphys at 11pm that night in December 2010 with their baby in her arms. Her first words to them:“ Why didn’t you tell me she had asthma?”
Chloe was fighting for every breath but she didn’t have asthma.
What she had was trauma – trauma that would be established to be have been so violent it was similar to a car accident.
The new parents saw saliva or some sort of fluid coming from their baby’s lips, desperately they squeezed her foot and spoke to her but there was no response.
The baby was rushed to the Royal Children’s hospital, an unusual colour, not breathing and with a weak pulse.
Doctors at the hospital said they believed that “Chloe’s catastrophic head injury had been caused within the previous 12 hours.”
They said they could not save her and the next day the difficult decision was made to take her off life support.
A committal hearing in 2013 heard evidence from Detective Acting Sergeant Justin Tippett who said an autopsy had found three fractures in the baby’s left arm and the cause of death was determined to be from head injuries.
He said the pattern of the three fractures and the hematoma “suggested shaking as a cause or mechanism”.
Her babysitter Ketapat Jenkins was arrested and accused of dropping Chloe, or shaking her with such force to cause her death, but she pleaded not guilty.
Through the case the defence suggested that Chloe had arrived unwell at the home Jenkins told police in an interview that it was the Murphys who had shaken their own daughter during an argument two days earlier and that she had nothing to do with it.
In an interview in 2010 Ketapat Jenkins told The Australian that the baby was unwell when she was dropped off, and that she would not stop crying.
However the prosecutor denied this saying they were loving and caring parents and there was no evidence that they had ever hurt Chloe.
After a lengthy trial in 2014 Anthony and Phurithee Murphy were shocked when Ketapat Jenkins was found not guilty.
Ms Jenkins persistently denied harming or dropping Chloe, or that the baby girl might have accidentally been injured after being left alone.
Now five years after her death a coronial inquest is examining how Chloe died.
Yesterday the Murphys once again entered a court room, once again they sat through heartbreaking evidence on how their daughter died. They heard that their daughter’s injuries were similar to those sustained in a car crash.
The panel said they believed Chloe’s injuries were consistent with her forearm being grabbed and twisted, followed by shaking and the baby being flung at the floor or wall.
Anthony and Phurithee Murphy sat through yesterday’s coronial hearing in silence while nine medical experts told coroner Jacqui Hawkins Chloe suffered a fractured skull, significant brain injuries, retinal hemorrhaging and three breaks to her left arm reports The Herald Sun.
The panel agreed that the probable cause of death was very severe “non-accidental” head and forearm injuries, and that they were likely inflicted around 9pm or 10pm on the night she was being babysat.
Dr Maryanne Lobo told the panel that Chloe may have been crying and unable to be soothed. Her arm could have been grabbed and she could have been shaken then thrown against a wall.
“It was definitely trauma-related and most likely non-accidental,” Dr Lobo said, though she discounted a fall because Chloe had no bruises, and she also ruled out “shaken baby syndrome” – a scenario raised at trial. Dr Lobo said it was an unlikely explanation on its own because her fractured skull was caused by impact with a surface.
Dr Mark O’Sullivan said Chloe’s arm was likely broken by bending and shaking.
“I’ve been in the Royal Children’s Hospital 25 years, I’ve never seen that fracture pattern.”
Dr Marcus Pandy said the force would have been as extreme such as in a car crash or if a television had fallen on her head.
The panel canvassed the possibility she was left in a walker and fell down the stairs, that she fell down the stairs in her carer’s arms or that she fell or was thrown from the first floor.
The hearing, in front of Coroner Jacqui Hawkins aims to determine the circumstances that led to Chloe’s death. The coroner said it was not her role to apportion blame.
Ms Jenkins will today front the inquest giving her evidence along with the lead police investigator and the doctor who treated Chloe in hospital.