Childcare Helper Tried To Kill Own Kids
A WOMAN who tried to kill her son and daughter has been looking
after children in a Melbourne kindergarten.
The mother is barred by the Victorian Supreme Court from caring
for her own children, or even contacting them.
She is under strict psychiatric supervision for the next 25 years,
yet she was able to return to a job in January as an assistant at
a kindergarten in Melbourne's eastern suburbs, caring for the
children of unsuspecting parents.
A court heard the woman tried to kill her children in late 2003.
In November, the Supreme Court was told she tried to drug and gas
herself and the children, then aged 12 and 10.
The woman, 45, was found not guilty of attempted murder on the
grounds of mental impairment and no conviction was recorded. She
returned to her part-time job in January.
The Herald Sun contacted the woman as part of its investigation
on March 31. She would not comment. It is understood she quit
The case has exposed a loophole in checks on people hired to
care for children.
A Department of Human Services spokesman said yesterday that based
on the circumstances, "the woman should not have resumed
working with children".
"A police check had been conducted on the worker when she'd
commenced at the pre-school several years ago," spokesman
Graeme Walker said.
"She resumed in January this year and there was no
requirement for a new police check."
He said a second police check would not have revealed
that the woman tried to kill her own children because
no conviction was recorded.
"When we were advised today by the Herald Sun of the
circumstances of the matter, we immediately made contact
with the kindergarten management," he said.
We were advised that the worker had resigned."
According to court documents filed as recently as three
weeks ago, the woman described herself as a part-time
kindergarten assistant working two half-days a week.
The Herald Sun is aware of the kindergarten, but chooses
not to reveal its identity.
The Supreme Court heard last year that the woman tried to
kill her children the day before the anniversary of her
separation from her husband. They had been apart
for 11 years.
The woman - whose identity was suppressed by Justice
Philip Cummins - planned the murders for 12 months, the
While awaiting trial, she spent six months in the Thomas
Embling Hospital for mentally-ill inmates. During this
period she took leave without pay.
DHS spokesman Graeme Walker said the department conducted
more than 3300 routine and spot inspections on kindergartens
and childcare centres in 2004, including checking on whether
police checks have been done.
"The Children Services Act requires all kindergarten workers
to undergo the police check before they start working with
children," he said.
"The State Government has also implemented an additional
procedure recently where operators must sign a compliance
statement yearly that all their workers have received police checks."
He said the DHS was told yesterday by the management of the
kindergarten in question that they were unaware the woman
tried to kill her children.
Kindergarten Parents Victoria told the Herald Sun that the
protection of children was vital. "Clearly there needs to be
close liaison between the courts and the government to make
sure the data is put through," said chief executive officer
"We need to protect children in all situations and that
includes cases where the court chooses to exercise discretion."
Herald Sun (12-4-2005)