A BALLARAT mother accused of smothering two of her children with pillows on her daughter’s birthday will stand trial in the County Court.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared in Ballarat Magistrates Court yesterday, where she pleaded not guilty to two charges of reckless conduct endangering life.
Police documents show the woman was subject to an intervention order in regard to her children after her marriage broke down.
The woman was granted an access visit on January 29 this year to celebrate her daughter’s fifth birthday.
The evidence states the woman’s children, aged five and seven, were forced to pinch and scratch her, after she allegedly put pillows over their faces and lay on top of them.
The woman’s son told investigators he was able to move his head to the side, allowing him to breathe, yet said when his mother finally got off the pillow his sister wasn’t moving.
“Oh my god. Breathe, breathe, breathe,” the son told police his mother had said.
Arrested the next day, the accused told police she had a pillow fight with her children while in her motel room.
Police were initially contacted after the children, who had been returned to their father’s house, were noticed to be “pale and withdrawn”.
Their grandmother recalled in court yesterday the moment her granddaughter’s head fell onto the table and she fell asleep.
Police documents state the relationship between the woman and her partner had ended in late 2011, and that she had been drinking heavily, using methamphetamines and behaving erratically.
The documents show that on two occasions after the alleged incident, the accused tried to take her own life.
Yesterday’s day long committal hearing heard from six witnesses.
On cross-examination, one of the witnesses revealed the woman’s relationship with her children had been healthy in the lead up to the alleged smothering.
“She was very good with the children,” the witness said.
Appearing agitated and emotional at times, the woman offered a calm “I am not guilty” when asked to enter pleas by Magistrate Gerard Lethbridge.
She was bailed to appear in the County Court at Ballarat tomorrow for a directions hearing.