Daughter guilty of attempted murder

Updated November 2 2012 - 12:49pm, first published October 20 2009 - 11:02am
PLEA: Ballarat woman Maria Christine Clark leaves the Ballarat courthouse yesterday after pleading guilty to attempting to kill her elderly mother in a nursing home. Picture: Jeremy Bannister
PLEA: Ballarat woman Maria Christine Clark leaves the Ballarat courthouse yesterday after pleading guilty to attempting to kill her elderly mother in a nursing home. Picture: Jeremy Bannister

A BALLARAT woman has admitted to trying to kill her elderly mother at a nursing home by stopping her from breathing.Maria Christine Clark, 51, yesterday pleaded guilty in Ballarat Magistrates Court to one count of attempted murder.Her 81-year-old mother, Agnes Caris, died at Nazareth House on the evening of December 14 last year.The charge carries a maximum penalty of 25 years' imprisonment.The prosecution withdrew a charge of murder against Clark during yesterday's brief court hearing, which was set down for a three-day committal hearing.A police summary tendered to the court says Clark was alone with her mother in her room when she tilted her head and pinched her wind pipe with her right thumb and index finger until she stopped breathing.Mrs Caris died at 11.10pm.The next day, Clark confessed to a work colleague that she had taken her mother's last breaths, the summary says.Clark was then interviewed by police where she recounted the incident.The summary says Mrs Caris had a stroke and lapsed into a coma just days before she died. Family members were told death was expected. She also suffered from cancer.Clark had a history of suffering from mild depression and was taking medication, the summary said.Family surrounded Clark in court, however a male left the court room abruptly moments before the case was called while a female left crying during the hearing.Clark sat silent in the front row of the public gallery until Magistrate Richard Pithouse asked her for her plea, to which she replied ``guilty''.Mr Pithouse extended Clark's bail on her own undertaking, which does not include reporting to police. She will face a directions hearing in Melbourne on November 4.

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