news

They say: the babysitter shook their baby and now she is dead

Chloe Murphy aged 10 months

It may be one of the most fundamental fears a parent can have.

Can I trust another person with my child?

Can I trust another to look after my child as well as I can?

And if you do hand over that trust – the idea of it being broken is one of the most impossibly difficult things to imagine.

The betrayal, the heartbreak, the utter utter hopelessness and devastation breaking that trust would bring.

It’s the thread underpinning the prosecution case in the death of Chloe Murphy.

A ten-month old baby who died of horrific head injuries in December 2010.

The ultimate betrayal by the one entrusted to care for baby Chloe by her parents is how Crown Prosecutor Bruce Walmsley, SC opened the case yesterday in the Supreme Court.

Chloe Murphy was being cared for by her babysitter, Ketapat Jenkins, when she was rushed to hospital with head injuries.

She died two days later.

Ketapat Jenkins, a mother of two on trial for manslaughter in the Victorian Supreme Court. She has pleaded not guilty.

The prosecution told the court that Anthony and Phurithee Murphy did not often spend time away from their baby daughter.

It was rare that they went out, but on this particular occasion they decided to have some dinner and see a movie.

Ketapat Jenkins has pleaded not guilty

They had left their daughter with Ketapat before – after having met her through a web site for Thai-Australians. Ketapat worked as a baby sitter. In 2010 she told The Australian she was paid $5 an hour for her work.

Ketapat Jenkins was a mother-of-two and was obviously trusted by the couple.

Any new parent knows how difficult it is to leave a young baby.

The ABC report that the Prosecution told the court heard when the Murphy’s left Chloe she was happy and responsive.

Normal.

“ In very good spirits’’.

“At no time during this period did Chloe cry or seem unhappy,’’ News Limited report that he said.

They had dinner, they saw a movie and returned to collect their baby girl at 11pm.

They didn’t hear from their babysitter while they were out, and they didn’t call her at all to check in.

What the Crown says they found was any parent’s worst nightmare.

ADVERTISEMENT

She was limp and unresponsive, the court heard.

Jenkins answered the door with their baby in her arams and asked “ Why didn’t you tell me she had asthma?”

Chloe was fighting for every breath.

The Age reports that “there was saliva or some sort of fluid coming from the baby’s lips so the couple squeezed her foot and spoke to her but there was no response.”

The baby was taken to the Royal Children’s hospital.

Baby Chloe was initially an unusual colour, not breathing and with a weak pulse.

Chloe Murphy and her uncle

It is hard to imagine how incredibly difficult those hours must have been for Chloe’s parents.

From The Age, one Doctor believed that “Chloe’s catastrophic head injury had been caused within the previous 12 hours.”

The next day the decision was made to take her off life support.

It was revealed in later tests that the baby also had fractures in her left arm.

A committal hearing last year 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”.

Yesterday in court Ketapat Jenkins pleaded not guilty.

The babysitter denied she had dropped the baby.

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.

The defense case is expected to focus upon a police interview where Jenkins said the Murphys had shaken the baby during an argument two days earlier.

The ABC reports “She later suggested to someone else the couple had planned to blame her for the injuries.

The court heard the jury will hear about a volatile argument the Murphys had, where Ms Murphy had smashed a car window with the baby stroller when the baby was in the car.”

However, the prosecutor denies this saying they were loving and caring parents and there was no evidence that they had ever hurt Chloe.

The case continues today with Defence barrister Peter Morrissey SC delivering his opening address.

Anthony and Phurithee Murphy are expected to be the first witnesses called.

00:00 / ???