Australian couple starved autistic daughter to death

June 23rd, 2009 - 4:21 pm ICT by John Le Fevre  

An Australian court has convicted the parents of a seven-year-old autistic girl who weighed just nine kilograms when she died of starving her to death.

The trial heard the girl, who died of malnutrition and dehydration resulting from starvation, was so thin that she looked “mummified” to ambulance officers.

A New South Wales (NSW) Supreme Court jury of six-woman and six-men found the girls 35-year-old mother guilty of murder and her 48-year-old husband guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter after deliberating for the past week.

Both parents had pleaded not guilty to murdering the child at their Hawks Nest home and stared straight ahead without emotion as the verdict was read.

Several doctors testified the girl suffered the most severe case of malnutrition they had ever seen, with one expert saying the child’s head resembled a skull wrapped in skin.

During the trial the parents admitted lying to police when they claimed she was happy and well the night before her death, with the jury told she would have been semi-conscious to comatose for days.

The child’s father blamed the mother for the death, saying she was solely responsible for their daughters care.

The mother told the jury the thought her daughter may die never entered her head.

The couple’s three other daughters remain in the custody of the NSW Department of Community Services.

The court has not yet announced what sentence will be handed out to the pair.

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