A Wollongong mother has confessed to cutting her six-year-old son’s throat with a knife in a shocking act of domestic violence.
The woman, who suffers from significant mental health issues, committed the horrific act in December last year in front of her middle son, who was five at the time and whom she later attempted to suffocate with a towel.
In a heartbreaking interview, the five-year-old told police “she just wanted to hurt us” when describing what had occurred inside the home that day, which resulted in the woman spending four months in a mental health facility undergoing extensive psychiatric treatment.
She is now back living in the community, moving in with relatives in Sydney, but is banned from seeing her children, who still live with their father in the Illawarra.
The horrific details of the case were publicly aired for the first time in Wollongong Local Court last Friday when the woman attempted to have her criminal assault charge dismissed under mental health legislation.
Her lawyer, Adam Bye, presented psychological reports from the woman’s treating doctors detailing her “significant” mental health issues, however the exact nature of her illness was not revealed in open court.
“The offence is towards the most serious the court would consider,” he said.
“My client finds the offence horrific and very hard to deal with – she has no explanation for what she did, but it’s consistent with her suffering a psychological illness at the time.”
A police statement of facts revealed the woman attended Wollongong Hospital emergency department on the afternoon of December 20 with her 18-month old son seeking treatment for on a deep, fleshy cut on his foot.
She told doctors she had been cutting up fruit that morning when she accidentally cut her son with the knife as she picked him up. The toddler underwent surgery, while the mother was admitted to hospital on December 21 for a psychological assessment.
Her oldest son told Family and Community Services caseworkers about having his throat cut the following day, saying his mother had also said “I’m gonna kill you” during the incident.
He later told police he used wet wipes to clean the blood from his throat and felt scared of his mother afterwards.
Meantime, the five-year-old told officers his mum had held a towel over his mouth so he wouldn’t scream and tried to cut him with the knife as well.
Magistrate Mark Douglass ultimately refused to deal with the case under mental health legislation, saying the offence was too serious for such a course to be taken.
However, he accepted the woman had a “very serious mental illness” that she’d not brought on herself via drug use, etc.
“She was in hospital for 110 days – that’s a very significant stay. She must have been acutely unwell,” he said.
“Her condition isn’t going away overnight, she knows that.
“There were signs things were getting out of control and she didn’t act on that. But she now has a support network around her that is a lot more attentive to her needs.
“This has been a wake-up call not just to her self but for all the people around her.”
Magistrate Douglass placed the woman on a good-behaviour bond for three years and imposed a series of strict conditions.
They include that she abide by a personalised mental health treatment plan, take all prescribed medication and attend appointments with her treating doctors.