Mum accused of baby's attempted murder: 'I was possessed'

A MOTHER accused of twice trying to kill her baby girl confessed to the crimes but claimed she was possessed by the devil, a court has heard.

In the Brisbane Supreme Court yesterday, a jury was told Ashleigh Meagan Watterson allegedly tried to kill her daughter, Sarah twice when she was five-months-old.

The now 30-year-old was 23 at the time.

She has pleaded not guilty to two charges of attempted murder and an alternate charge of causing grievous bodily harm and one of assault.

Police allege there were three separate assaults - including a failed bid to kill Sarah in a bathroom at the then Royal Children's Hospital on November 24, 2010.

Sarah suffered brain damage, and since died March 20, 2012, aged 21 months, with the cause undetermined.

Watterson has not been charged in relation to her death.

The court heard that Watterson had previously had a nine-week-old girl Lara die to SIDS in May 2009.

"I never wanted to hurt (daughter) but at those events, I feel I was possessed."

According to The Courier Mail, Watterson confessed to police and to her sister that she was "possessed".

"The devil can attack you and can make you do things and I feel that's what happened," she told police at Redcliffe on August 19, 2013.

"During the time Sarah was having apnoea… she wasn't having any apnoea events, that was me."

She told police "my hands might have done it but my head didn't do it"

In a signed police statement shown to the Brisbane Supreme Court she said "'I never wanted to hurt (daughter) but at those events, I feel I was possessed. I believe I have the love of God and this is not the person who I am. I feel that the devil attacked and made me do things."

The alleged assaults left Sarah with serious brain damage after her mother ­deliberately blocked her airways, the court was told.

In fact, in one alleged assault, Mr Boyle said, Watterson would have succeeded in her bid to kill Sarah if ambulance officers had not revived her.

Sarah with left with serious brain damage following the alleged assaults, the court was told. Source: Supplied.
Sarah with left with serious brain damage following the alleged assaults, the court was told. Source: Supplied.

Watterson allegedly said she tried to kill her baby

Watterson claimed she left her daughter on the floor of their home for less than a minute, and when she returned the baby was blue and unresponsive. Sarah spent six days in hospital but half an hour after being discharged again Sarah was found blue, unresponsive and not breathing.

Mr Boyle said, "the accused told them she had left for five minutes and returned to find the child not breathing."

It was during one of these hospital stays that the father of a fellow patient claims Watterson told him she tried to kill her baby.

Mr Boyle said that Philip Denmeade was in parenting room at the Royal Children's Hospital on November 24, 2010, when came across Watterson holding a baby wrapped in a blanket "I tried to kill my baby. It's just breathed" he claims she told him.

Mr Boyle said that on the day Watterson confessed to police, she also confessed to her then-husband Mark sending him a text saying "I'm not planning to tell anyone that I'm guilty. No one else needs to know."

She says she was having trouble coping

The court heard that another family member, Janet Dilena told police Watterson had confided in her that she stopped Sarah from breathing and that she was having trouble coping after giving birth to Sarah and getting married so soon after losing her other daughter, Lara to SIDS.

"It was all a little too much," she told Ms Dilena.

The trial will run for two weeks with sixteen doctors and four nurses to give evidence

It is expected that doctors will testify they could not find any medical condition or disease that would have caused Sarah's apnoea and that Sarah never suffered a lack of oxygen attack during any of her multiple hospital admissions, reports The Courier Mail.

Watterson's defence lawyer says that the young mum never harmed her daughter, but that she had "a disordered mind'.

This article originally appeared on Kidspot and has been reproduced here with permission.

Topics:  attempted murder brisbane

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