Woman left little girl to look after family

December 6, 2017 | By More


A woman texted her pre-teen daughter, telling her never to forget that she was an amazing girl and to look after her little brothers. Then she boarded a flight to Australia.
Police were alerted by the woman’s ex-partner who had received an email saying the woman was leaving and might be suicidal.
The police went to the Canterbury woman’s address and found the scared and hungry children.
The 31-year-old woman returned from Australia two weeks later and was charged with ill-treating or neglecting the young children by leaving them alone while she went overseas.
She has had name suppression throughout her Christchurch District Court appearances since June and Judge Tony Couch made a final order yesterday to protect the identities of the children.
The woman pleaded guilty to the charge and was then ordered to come up for sentence within a year if called upon. It means she will face no penalty unless she reoffends.
She has never been in trouble before.
At the suggestion of defence counsel Bryan Green, Judge Couch had delayed the case so that a probation officer could talk to the woman and decide whether a supervision sentence was necessary.
The officer reported later that there was no need for supervision, after talking to the woman, her father, and her current partner.
The woman was well able to find assistance when she needed it, and had already had counselling, he said. There had been “an awful lot going on in the last decade of her life”, which had led up to this incident in April.
The suggestion for her to come up for sentence if called upon was supported by Mr Green, and by the police prosecutor.
Police said the woman had shared custody with the children’s fathers. She lived with the children and was their caregiver.
About 5pm on April 28, she left her address, leaving her children alone.
She drove to the airport where she left her car in a supermarket carpark and boarded a plane for Australia at 9.15pm.
Just after 9pm, the police received a call from her ex-partner saying that they had received an email from the woman implying that she was leaving and may be suicidal.
Police carried out a welfare check at her home and found her children home alone. They were scared and hungry but otherwise unharmed, but they had no idea where their mother was, saying only that she had said goodbye and left.
The daughter had texted her mother at 6.40pm asking where she was and what they were having for dinner. The woman replied, “Eat anything”, and to make sure the boys were good and to go to bed.
The woman texted her daughter at 8.41pm telling her she was an amazing girl and never to forget that.
Police investigated and found that she had bought a plane ticket at 2pm that day, and boarded the plane just after texting her daughter.
She returned to New Zealand on May 10.
“The defendant had told no-one of her plans to leave and had made no arrangements for anyone to look after her children,” the police said.
“Had the defendant’s ex-partner not received the email and contacted police, the young children would have remained alone for an undetermined time, putting them at risk of further harm.”



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