Thursday, 13 December 2007

Mother of boy in suitcase faces court.

Headline from the story in the Sydney Morning Herald:

"Compassion plea as mother of boy in suitcase faces court."

In October a group of children found a suitcase floating in a duck pond at Ambarvale, near Campbelltown. Inside was the body of two year-old Dean Shillingsworth. Dean's mother, Rachel Pfitzner, has been charged with his murder.

Court documents said police believe Dean died between 11 and 11.30am on October 11 - a week before his body was discovered."

The lawyer acting for Ms
Pfitzner has appealed for compassion for his client, who is in custody in Silverwater Women's Prison.

Outside court, Pfitzner's lawyer, Ugo Parente, appealed for public compassion, saying she was entitled to a fair hearing. "I just ask that she be shown a bit of compassion at this time," Mr Parente said. "It is a sensitive matter and it has to be dealt with fairly."

The Herald reports that she is in voluntary protection in prison and that she appeared in court via video link.

The screen on which her face appeared was dark. The only word she said was "yep" when she was asked routine questions, such as if she could hear."

Very little has been published on this case in the UK and there is very little information available from this article, beyond the fact that Dean's mother has been charged with his murder, that she is in prison and has appeared briefly in court.

Dean's father is also in prison, but there is no information about what charges have been laid against him in the article.

Dean's father, Paul Shillingsworth, is also in jail, in Tamworth. He was released on parole on the eve of the funeral, but his parole was revoked after fresh charges were laid against him.

Dean's mother is due to appear in court again in February 2008. I shall watch this as it unfolds, wondering why this woman deserves my compassion.

Sydney Morning Herald

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