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Man who admits killing daughter refused to seek medical help after she fell off change table, court told.

By Joanna Menagh. 

A Perth man who has admitted killing his baby ignored repeated pleas from his wife to take the child to hospital after she had fallen off a change table, the Supreme Court has heard.

Paul James Cosgrove, 24, was looking after his seven-month-old daughter Lily at the family’s Ellenbrook home in September last year when he left her alone on the table to dispose of a used nappy.

The court was told when he went back into the room he found the child on her back on the floor, but despite her making funny noises he did not seek any medical attention.

Instead Cosgrove had a sleep before putting the unresponsive baby in his car, to drive to his mother-in-law’s home for a family gathering.

Cosgrove was looking after the child because his wife Emma had returned to full-time work.

She telephoned him while he was driving and after he told her about the baby’s condition, she pleaded with him to take Lily to hospital but he refused and instead returned home.

Prosecutor Amanda Burrows said when Ms Cosgrove arrived at the house, she found her husband “holding Lily in his arms and she was floppy and non-responsive”.

Ms Cosgrove immediately called an ambulance but the child had suffered “non-survivable” brain injuries and she died in hospital.

A tribute to Lily Cosgrove has been made outside the Supreme Court in Perth. Source: ABC.
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Cosgrove 'too immature'

The court heard earlier in the day the child had fallen onto a laminate floor when Cosgrove had fallen asleep with her on a couch.

Ms Burrows said after that incident, despite Lily being distressed, Cosgrove had left her with a neighbour and had gone and had a massage.

She said there were also indications that in the months before, Cosgrove had been warned not to leave Lily unattended.

Cosgrove pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawfully killing the child, on the basis he was criminally negligent by placing her in a position where she could fall, and by failing in his duty of care to obtain medical assistance for her.

His lawyer, Jeremy Morris, described the case as "very sad", saying his client was "a first-time father who was ill-equipped and too immature to properly care for Lily".

Mr Morris said about two or three weeks before the incident, there was a period when his client stopped taking medication for a major depressive disorder and it was possible that "gap" may have affected his mental stability.

The prosecutor questioned the level of remorse shown by Cosgrove, saying reports indicated he appeared to "lack insight" and had shown a "lack of compassion for the physical trauma suffered by Lily and a lack of empathy for her family members".

However, Mr Morris said as well as Cosgrove's mental health issues, he had shown traits of a borderline personality disorder and had difficulty expressing his emotions and feelings.

Family and friends of Lily, including her mother Emma, attended today's hearing, wearing T-shirts and holding signs with pictures of the baby and displaying the words "Your Life Mattered" and "Light for Lily".

Cosgrove, who is being held in protective custody, will be sentenced later this month.

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