1. Mother who was ‘too terrified’ to seek medical treatment as her infant lay dying avoids jail time.
At Supreme Court for sentencing of Michelle Leask for manslaughter of daughter in ’12. Lawyer says no prison for her https://t.co/fGfJFx6nK3
— Jennine Khalik (@jennineak) April 4, 2017
When Michelle Leask noticed her bruised baby girl having trouble breathing and unable to make eye contact she wanted to take her for medical treatment.
But the then 21-year-old mother was terrified into inaction, fearful of the possible violent reaction from her abusive partner, who was more concerned about concealing his small cannabis plantation than his ailing daughter’s welfare, AAP reports.
Their baby, Lili Cataldo, died in hospital on May 8, 2012, and on Tuesday Leask was sentenced to five years in jail after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the Brisbane Supreme Court.
But she has walked from court, with Justice Martin Burns wholly suspending the jail term, due to Leask’s vulnerability and substantial impairment stemming from the abuse inflicted by her partner and Lili’s father, Rick Cataldo.
On the evening seven-week-old Lili died, Leask found the pale, unresponsive and limp baby lying on a bed behind her sleeping father. She then yelled at Cataldo.
“You told him your child was not breathing,” Justice Burns said.
“You wished to call an ambulance but again you were prevailed on by Cataldo not to do so because he was worried that a number of cannabis plants in his possession would be discovered.”
Leask took her blue child to Redcliffe Hospital and staff tried CPR for about half an hour but couldn’t save Lili.
The court heard Cataldo had inflicted the fatal head injuries on his baby in one savage attack between seven and 10 days before she died.