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SA woman Ashlee Jean Polkinghorne pleads guilty to manslaughter of daughter, 4
A woman accused of killing her daughter, 4, by making the injured child ride a 50kg motorbike while she recorded
videos and laughed has confessed to manslaughter.
Ashlee Jean Polkinghorne, 22, wiped at her face as she stood in the Supreme Court dock today and pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter.
Benjamin Robert McPartland, 27, had been jointly charged with the January 2012 manslaughter of Polkinghorne’s daughter, Chloe Valentine .
Prosecutors had alleged Chloe was placed on a motorcycle that crashed into a tree in an Ingle Farm backyard.
They further alleged the pair’s reports to the ambulance crews at the scene were inconsistent.
In July, McPartland and Polkinghorne pleaded not guilty to the charge and were ordered to stand trial .
In December, however, McPartland pleaded guilty on the basis he “unlawfully killed” Chloe .
At that time, the court heard Polkinghorne maintained her not guilty plea but there remained “a possibility her matter might resolve”.
This week, Polkinghorne went before Justice Trish Kelly for pre-trial legal argument.
Justice Kelly heard a child’s motorbike, which weighed 50kg, arrived at the couple’s home on the Tuesday before Chloe died.
Prosecutor Sandi McDonald, SC, said Chloe was repeatedly put on the bike between Tuesday and Friday despite sustaining injuries
including two black eyes and significant bruising.
She said Polkinghorne recorded several videos of her daughter falling off the motorbike and McPartland putting her back on.
She said the couple could be heard laughing in the video.
Ms McDonald said that, on the Friday afternoon, Google searches were made on the couple’s computer for the terms “out cold” and “won’t wake up”.
The computer was also used to access Facebook and internet banking.
Ms McDonald said several hours after the searches began, an ambulance was called.
She said life support was turned off about 7pm on Saturday night.
Ms McDonald said that, in a videotaped police interview recorded at the hospital, Polkinghorne told
officers Chloe had hit her head on a doorframe in the kitchen before she fell unconscious.
The police officer who was in the interview gave evidence, telling the court doctors at the
hospital could not find a correlating bump on Chloe’s head.
Today, lawyers for Polkinghorne asked their client be re-arraigned on the manslaughter charge, after which she entered a plea of guilty.
Justice Kelly remanded her on continuing bail to a further hearing next week.
SA man pleads guilty to manslaughter
A man has admitted the manslaughter of a four-year-old girl who was allegedly placed on
a motorcycle which crashed into a tree in an Adelaide backyard.
Benjamin Robert McPartland, 27, was due to face a South Australian Supreme Court trial
in February, with his partner, the girl's mother, Ashlee Jean Polkinghorne, 21.
But on Monday he pleaded guilty to unlawfully killing Chloe Valentine on January 2012, at Ingle Farm.
The couple's lawyer had told a previous court hearing that the death, which the crown said resulted from
criminal neglect, was a "tragic accident".
Justice Trish Kelly was told the parties are still having discussions about the factual basis of his admission.
Polkinghorne is still listed for the manslaughter trial, but the judge was told her matter may also be resolved.
McPartland will be back before the court on January 28.
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