A Brisbane mother has avoided jail time after pleading guilty to manslaughter after the tragic death of her eight-week-old baby girl.
Michelle Leask, 26, told court that she had wanted to take her little girl, Lili Cataldo, to the hospital when she discovered bruises all over her, and heard her crying in pain.
Leask’s partner and the father of their baby, Rick Cataldo, disagreed and talked Leask out of going. During the court case it was revealed that Leask had been a victim of abuse at the hands of Cataldo, and was scared to defy him.
Around a week later Leask found her baby girl limp and unresponsive lying near Cataldo, when she screamed that her girl was unresponsive.
Justice Martin Burns described to court what happened next: ‘You wished to call an ambulance but again you were prevailed on by Cataldo not to do so because he was worried that a number of cannabis plants in his possession would be discovered.’
Instead of an ambulance, Leask took Lili to Redcliffe Hospital but she was unable to be revived.
Her injuries were discovered to be from a vicious attack at the hands of her father, roughly a week before her death.
While she was found guilty of manslaughter, Justin Burns took Leask’s home life into account and suspended her prison sentence.
‘You were operating with substantially impaired judgment,’ he said, adding that there is no reason to send her to prison.
Her ex-partner, Cataldo, is also guilty of manslaughter with sentencing to follow.