From: pautrey on

Mother jailed for 'cruel, horrible' abuse
July 13, 2010

A Brisbane mother has been jailed for the "cruel, disgraceful and
horrible" abuse of her baby son.

The 34-year-old woman, who cannot be named, was this morning sentenced
to 16 months' jail after she pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm
and six counts of assaulting her son.

Brisbane District Court was told the mother digitally penetrated the
boy a number of times during a 14-month period between 2005 and 2006,
causing bleeding, for which she would later take him to a hospital.

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She continued the acts while her son was in a hospital bed.

The abuse was eventually uncovered by medical staff who noted the boy
was "less traumatised when the mother went away".

The court was told the boy, now aged five, has no control over his
bowel motions, though it was not certain his condition would be

The woman has not seen her children since supervised visits with them
were discontinued in November last year, the court was told.

In sentencing this morning, Judge Terence Martin said a psychologist
diagnosed the woman with Munchausen by proxy syndrome, a condition
that usually describes a parent who deliberately causes their child to
become sick or convinces others that the child is sick, and feels
satisfied by gaining attention this way.

Judge Martin said the woman's guilty plea meant she could not rely on
the diagnosis as a defence, although he accepted she had mental health

"The offending in this case is so disgraceful. That a mother with her
judgment fully intact would inflict such excruciating pain and injury
on her baby is too horrible to contemplate," he said.

The mother's explanation to doctors that voices in her head told her
to hurt the child in order to get attention for herself was not
accepted, Judge Martin said.

He took into account that the woman had a low intellect and was not
coping with being a parent to three children with limited support and
while in an unhappy relationship.

The judge accepted she had "not bonded" with the child she had abused
and said the appropriate punishment was time behind bars.

The woman was sentenced her to five years' jail, to be eligible for
parole on November 13 next year.