Mum, boyfriend charged over little girl’s hot car death

 

A mother and her boyfriend have been charged with manslaughter after a three-year-old Townsville girl was allegedly left to die in a hot car.

The toddler was found dead inside her mother's Toyota Prado at a home in Burdell this afternoon after spending hours left alone in the sweltering sun.

Laura Black, 37, and Aaron Hill, 30, of Burdell, were arrested and charged late last night after they discovered the dead girl and rushed her to Townsville University Hospital about 2.45pm.

Multiple police swarmed the hospital, with detectives interviewing both the mother and her boyfriend for hours.

 

Laura Black was seen being led away by police at Townsville University Hospital. It comes after a woman arrived at the Townsville University Hospital with a dead child in her car.
Laura Black was seen being led away by police at Townsville University Hospital. It comes after a woman arrived at the Townsville University Hospital with a dead child in her car.

Townsville Child Protection and Investigation Unit Detective Senior Sergeant Dave Miles said police were still investigating what happened during the day, and how the child was left unattended.

Initial reports indicate the child was allegedly left inside the car early in the morning after her mother dropped her siblings at school, and her body was only discovered when her mother went to pick them up. Police confirmed they were investigating this possibility.

The siblings are now in the care of their father. Neither the child, the mother or boyfriend were known to police.

Four-year-old child taken to Townsville University Hospital deceased. Picture: Evan Morgan
Four-year-old child taken to Townsville University Hospital deceased. Picture: Evan Morgan

Det Sen-Sgt Miles said it was a "very preventable and unfortunate tragedy".

"But certainly, we'll be looking at all facets in relation to the care of this child, not only today but leading up to these events," he said.

Temperatures reached 31 degrees in Townsville today, and according to RACQ, the interior of a car can peak at 75.1 degrees, regardless of whether it is left in shade or sun.

"The cars will heat up very quickly, and the human body is susceptible to dramatic changes in temperature … the best advice that we can give is do not leave children or pets in motor vehicles when they're stationary, with no ventilation, no airconditioning those sorts of things, particularly the tropics," Det Snr-Sgt Miles said.

Kids Safe Queensland CEO Susan Teerds said the death was a huge loss.

"It's a tragedy," Ms Teerds said.

"The rise in temperature happens very quickly.

Four-year-old child taken to Townsville University Hospital deceased. Picture: Evan Morgan
Four-year-old child taken to Townsville University Hospital deceased. Picture: Evan Morgan

"Children, elderly and animals really cannot be left in a car … not even for a minute."

Ms Teerds said child deaths in hot cars did not happen a lot, but there had been many instances of children being rescued from locked cars.

According to RACQ, three children are rescued from locked cars in Queensland every day.

The child's death is the third incident in Queensland in a year, with the most recent tragedy in February claiming the life of a three-year-old boy left in a daycare bus in Cairns.

Another incident in November last year claimed the lives of two Logan sisters, Darcey and Chloe-Ann.

Their mother, Kerri-Ann Conley, has been charged with murdering her daughters, aged one and two.

Ms Conley was the first person to be charged under tough new laws passed in May last year, which expand the state's definition of murder to include reckless indifference to human life.

Det Sgt-Miles said the circumstances surrounding the latest death were "vastly different", and the charge of manslaughter related to the alleged negligence shown.

The pair have been remanded in custody and will face Townsville Magistrates Court tomorrow morning.

 

shayla.bulloch@news.com.au

Originally published as Mum, boyfriend charged over little girl's hot car death


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