Australian mum pleads guilty to infanticide 3 months ago

Australian mum pleads guilty to infanticide

The mother had been showing signs of post natal depression before the incident.

*Content warning: articles contains references to infant death and suicide.

A mother in Australia has pleaded guilty to infanticide after the death of her baby daughter.

Melissa Arbuckle, 32, attempted to take her and her three-month-old daughter Lily's lives on July 11 last year in Upwey, an eastern suburb of Melbourne.

Arbuckle survived the incident with multiple fractures and internal bleeding across the right side of her neck and body, while Lily died in hospital hours later after sustaining critical head injuries.

According to the Age, Arbuckle was later diagnosed with severe postpartum depression and psychosis. She had no criminal history or apparent problems with mental health prior to becoming a mother.

Under Australian law, mothers who kill their children (aged under two) whilst suffering from childbirth-related mental health issues can be charged with infanticide as opposed to murder.

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Per the publication, the court was told how Arbuckle had become noticeably down since giving birth to Lily and was obsessed with being the perfect mum.

Maternal health notes showed that the new mother said she was struggling to cope as early as May last year, was described as being teary-eyed and at one point told a lactation consultant that she felt “out of control” and was scared her baby’s crying meant she was doing something wrong.

The court also heard how the night before she took her child's life, she told her husband she was suffering from suicidal thoughts but assured him she would never go through with it.

The Age reports that after Lily’s death, Arbuckle revealed she had been hearing voices and believed dying was her “only option”.

She is due to be sentenced later this week.

If you or someone you know needs support, help is available. You can contact Post Natal Depression Ireland on 021 4922083 or Samaritans on 116 123.