opinion

Should mothers who kill be given a second chance?

Should mothers who murder their children ever be allowed to be parents again? That's the question being asked now that a Brisbane mother who left her twin babies to starve to death is being released.

She wants her other children back. She wants the chance at having a family again. But hasn't she lost that right?

The 35-year-old woman, who cannot be identified, could be released in just 180 days after being granted immediate parole on her eight-year-sentence for manslaughter. She sighed and sobbed when told by Brisbane Supreme Court Justice Peter Lyons that due to the five years she's already served in custody since her arrest in 2008, she will soon be free.

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In 2008 the decomposing bodies of the 18-month-old twins were found together in a cot in their bedroom by their sister. Both parents who had been home at the time were arrested and charged. The trial was adjourned so the mother could be assessed for mental illness.

It was found that she was suffering from a major depressive episode when she left her babies to die. The father faces trial for manslaughter later this year. He told the court he hadn't seen the babies for at least a month because he was working, drinking and playing poker.

The woman has four other children who are either living with a foster family or are in the care of the Department of Child Safety. One of them was in court for last week's hearing.

Her barrister Soraya Ryan told the court the mother has kept in touch with all her children. "She cannot wait for the day when she can be a mother for him and her other children."

Ms Ryan says her client has cooperated with police. She said the mother never formed the intention to kill the twins as the father lived in the same house. "All he had to do was open the door,'' she said.

The twins' grandmother is happy with the outcome. "Now my grandchildren can finally get to see their mother."

"It has taken a toll on her mental and physical state and she has owned up to her past in all this and in the long run, she's still my daughter and I still love her.''

Have your say. Should mothers who kill be given another chance to be parents?

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