Warning: Distressing Content.
In December 2018, a very tired and frazzled mother did the unthinkable. She went to her 13-month-old son’s cot to see him crying. Instead of comforting him, she went to the laundry to get a bottle of Exit Mould.
The mother, Brooke Lucas from Western Australia then proceeded to pour 30ml of bleach down her sick baby’s feeding tube.
The reason she did it? Because she wanted a good night’s sleep.
‘Relieved and relaxed’
Her son, William was just over a year when this happened. He was also born prematurely with a rare congenital birth defect called Pierre Robin sequence. William needs 24-hour care.
At the time of the incident, Brooke said she needed a break and a good night’s sleep and she thought the bleach would help her baby to settle.
She poured the cleaning grade chemical into her son’s formula, then drip-fed him down his feeding tube, into his little tummy. She explains to the police that for a moment, she felt “relieved and relaxed”.
Of course, Willaim didn’t settle. State prosecutor Laura Christian SC said the baby turned grey one hour later and began vomiting and convulsing.
She said the mother sat and watched the medical episode before the boy’s father intervened, emptying the milk bags and calling for an ambulance nearly three hours later. Brooke told the operators that her older daughter was the one who poured the liquid into the milk bag.
As the baby was rushed to Perth Children’s Hospital, paramedics could smell the bleach. He continued to vomit another 10 to 12 times and spent 17 days in the hospital. However, he survived.
A cry for help
Two weeks later, Brooke confessed to police that it wasn’t her daughter that did it. It was her.
William now lives with his grandparents and Brooke has been charged with attempted murder. This week she pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of endangering the life of her son.
Brooke’s defence lawyer, Karen Farley SC, had argued the 2018 incident was a “cry for help” with the mother-of-two suffering from significant mental health issues and a borderline personality disorder which impaired her judgment.
Ms Farsley also said Brooke was horrified by what she had done, and had felt overwhelmed by William’s challenging medical condition when she carried out the abhorrent act.
Mother jailed for 2 ½ years
Today the Western Australia courts made their decision on Brooke’s fate. She was sentenced to 2½ years jail, and will be eligible for parole after 15 months.
Justice Joseph McGrath said,
You are the victim’s mother. The victim should have been cared for and protected by you.”