A mother so desperate for attention she poisoned her daughter with cancer drugs has been sentenced to two years behind bars.
The woman who was unnamed for legal reasons was sentenced for causing grievous bodily harm to her 4-year-old daughter.
She will unlikely lose custody of her daughter and son forever.
But knowing the suffering she caused and having to explain that to her daughter when she grows up is a greater punishment, a court has heard.
The 23-year-old mother of two bought the chemotherapy drugs over the internet and fed them to her daughter over nine months.
She was sentenced to a maximum of six years, has already spent 426 days in custody, and will be eligible for parole on April 10 next year.
The court heard she was so desperate for attention that before poisoning her daughter, she faked symptoms to have her own appendix removed.
She also wrote about the girl’s ‘fight for life’ on Facebook, attracting more than 8,000 supporters and even $500 in donations.
The drugs last year caused her daughter, now aged five, to suffer life-threatening illness, including bone marrow failure.
Outside Brisbane District Court, the girl’s maternal grandmother said it was tough seeing her so sick.
‘It was really hard, it was heartbreaking,’ she told reporters.
‘But I’m not going to focus on that. She’s healthy now.’
Despite the ordeal, the grandmother, who is now caring for the little girl, said the family was sticking by her daughter who won’t be eligible for parole until 2015.
‘She’s my daughter… she’s going to get the help she needs,’ she said.
Defence barrister Catherine Morgan said the mother had suffered from an extremely rare mental disorder known as factitious disorder by proxy, where a person deliberately produces, feigns, or exaggerates symptoms of someone in their care.
She said her client had also faked symptoms to have her own healthy appendix removed.
The young girl is now healthy since recovering and reportedly misses her mother
The woman, who also faked symptoms to have her own appendix removed, is currently being sentenced
Prosecutor Glen Cash argued the woman was suffering a personality disorder, not a mental disorder, as she was not delusional, psychotic or out of touch with reality.
Mr Cash said the mother fed the drugs to her daughter to attract attention to herself, but conceded that her capacity to see it was wrong was impaired somewhat.
He said the drugs put the child at an ‘unquantifiable’ risk of infertility and increased her risk of developing certain cancers by one to two per cent.
In sentencing the woman, Judge Anthony Rafter said the betrayal of her daughter’s trust was ‘incomprehensible’.
‘Your daughter must have experienced pain and discomfort,’ he said.
‘You caused your daughter severe suffering and a life-threatening illness, she was required to undergo evasive medical procedures.’
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