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Mother accused of baby's death to fight charges

A mother accused of murdering her two-month-old baby daughter and attempting to murder the girl's twin sister will fight the charges, a court has heard today.

The woman, 38, who cannot be named, is alleged to have been assaulting the girls from the time they were brought home after their birth by caesarean at the Royal Women's Hospital on February 27 last year.

She appeared briefly in the Melbourne Magistrates Court today where the court was told she would be contesting the charges.

Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg remanded the woman on bail to appear in June for a two-day committal hearing.

Her bail conditions include continuing to receive psychiatric counselling and to follow all the conditions of current intervention orders.

Doctors believe the alleged injuries suffered by the twin girls were consistent with "forces such as shaking and impacts that are not typically generated by accidental causes", according to court documents.


A police summary tendered at an earlier hearing said the girls' birth had been relatively uncomplicated and they were taken home soon after by their parents, who also have a two-year-old boy.

During the eight-week period leading up to the girl's death, the twins, who were suffering from reflux or colic which made them difficult to manage, were taken several times to see a nurse who noticed bruising on both infants. But the bruises were explained away by their mother, the police summary says.

On April 25, the father was responsible for the twins overnight and fed them about 11pm before putting them to bed. About 3am the next day the father woke after he heard one of the girls making noises.

He got up to check on her and found she was pale and limp.

He removed her from her crib and at this point realised she had become still and stopped breathing.

Ambulance officers were called and found the girl in cardiac arrest. She was stabilised and taken to the Royal Children's Hospital. The mother travelled with the girl in the ambulance.

CT scans and other tests revealed the girl had significant skull fractures and subdural hemorrhaging (bleeding to the brain).

The girl was rushed to the operating theatre in an attempt to relieve some of the pressure to her brain but she died on the operating table.

The girl's twin was then examined and found to have "multiple skull fractures, subdural bleeds, broken collar bone, fractured ribs, bruising and other injuries", according to police.

The surviving twin girl also underwent surgery to try to relieve the pressure to her brain.

The court documents stated that she had since recovered from some of her injuries, but areas of her brain had shrunk or were damaged.

Supreme Court Justice Paul Coghlan later granted the mother bail on the basis of exceptional circumstances. He said the woman would be in danger if she were placed in custody, and said she should continue psychiatric treatment.