Munno Para tragedy: Charlie’s father stabbed her mum in the neck 18 months before girl died

Munno Para tragedy: Charlie's father stabbed her mum in the neck 18 months before girl died 2
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Shocking new details have emerged of how a six-year-old girl who tragically died from suspected malnutrition allegedly saw her ‘drug-fuelled’ father stab her mother multiple times.

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Charlie was found unresponsive at her family’s housing commission home in Munno Para, in Adelaide’s northern suburbs, in the early hours of Friday morning in a suspect case of neglect. 

Court documents have revealed authorities allowed Charlie to remain with her parents, despite being exposed to drug abuse and domestic violence in recent years.

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Just 18 months ago, Charlie and her siblings witnessed their father John stab their mother several times in neck in a shocking attack at their home. A person walking past the house intervened. 

The Advertiser reported the attack only ended because the knife John was using broke. 

Munno Para tragedy: Charlie's father stabbed her mum in the neck 18 months before girl died 3

He lunged at his partner of 18 years twice as the bystander tried to hold him back, a court was told in February.

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‘It (the attack) occurred in front of the house and was witnessed by at least one civilian, who had to pull the defendant away from the victim not once, but twice,’ a prosecutor told the District Court.

‘Had he not been pulled away there can be no doubt far more serious consequences could have flowed.’ 

John reportedly pleaded guilty to causing harm with intent and during sentencing submissions in February this year. The court heard he had been a habitual methylamphetamine user for many years, the Advertiser reported. 

The prosecutor told the court that the mother – who is now being investigated for the criminal neglect of her child – wished to return to her partner.

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They also anticipated the Department of Child Protection would get involved again if he returned to the home. 

Four years earlier, John was sentenced for aggravated assault after slapping his partner in the face.

He was sentenced to five years and six months imprisonment with a non-parole period of three years and six months over the.

Court documents also show the family was already known to at least three government agencies – including the Department of Child Protection. 

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But despite the children witnessing the horrifying attack – and their father’s history of domestic violence and drug use – authorities did not remove them. 

Inside tragic Charlie’s final days before being found barely conscious and dying of malnutrition – as it emerges authorities let kids stay in squalid house even after father had attacked mother in drug-fuelled stabbing 

Charlotte Karp in Munno Para and Tita Smith for Daily Mail Australia 

Charlie’s tragic death at the home – which is strewn with old toys, boxes, a tent and electric appliances – sparked a major crimes investigation by police and has led her five siblings to be taken into the care of the state as their mother is investigated for criminal neglect.

Charlie’s aunt – wearing a pink hoodie with a slogan that read ‘but did you die? #mumlife’ – lashed out at media outside the home on Tuesday when asked how her mother was feeling.

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‘How do you think she’s feeling? Her daughter just died in her arms! Of course she’s upset.’  

One neighbour, Bec, told Daily Mail Australia the girl’s mum had raised the alarm late at night – leading her to do everything she could to try and save Charlie’s life.

‘It was about 1am and we were about to go to sleep, and we heard this banging on the door. Charlie’s mum was screaming ‘Charlie isn’t breathing!’ so we raced over there. 

Charlie (pictured) was raced to Lyell McEwin Hospital in the early hours of Friday morning in Adelaide's north

Charlie (pictured) was raced to Lyell McEwin Hospital in the early hours of Friday morning in Adelaide’s north

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Charlie (pictured) died on the floor of her mother's house in an alleged case of criminal neglect

Charlie (pictured) died on the floor of her mother’s house in an alleged case of criminal neglect

‘She was on the floor in a nappy and she was paper white … and when I touched her she was stone cold and her eyes were open and fixated on the ceiling.

‘We did everything to try and get Charlie to breathe.’

Bec’s sister desperately tried to resuscitate Charlie.

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When they rolled her onto her side they noticed there was something in the girl’s mouth.

They frantically tried to clear her airway, before rolling her onto her back, and trying CPR again. 

Paramedics arrived soon after and worked on Charlie for half an hour.

Charlie's aunt arrived that afternoon, wearing a pink hoodie with a slogan that read: 'But did you die? #mumlife (pictured, left)

Charlie’s aunt arrived that afternoon, wearing a pink hoodie with a slogan that read: ‘But did you die? #mumlife (pictured, left)

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The house Charlie died in was surrounded by junk - old toys, a tent, bikes and a disused freezer

The house Charlie died in was surrounded by junk – old toys, a tent, bikes and a disused freezer

The cause of death is still unknown, but a neighbour said Charlie had something in her throat when she died (family home, pictured)

The cause of death is still unknown, but a neighbour said Charlie had something in her throat when she died (family home, pictured) 

They tried to clear her windpipe to get a breathing tube down her throat.

Bec said: ‘Paramedics were able get the breathing tube in after a lot of suction, but even though they managed to get air into her lungs, her heart didn’t want to start.

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‘They pronounced her dead in hospital, but she was gone before that.’ 

The mum-of-five said the image of Charlie on the floor wearing a nappy, dying on the floor, paper-white and stone-cold is burned into her mind. 

Bec and her sister tried to keep Charlie’s siblings away from the horrific scene. They were distraught over what was happening to their sister.

When asked about the cause of death, Bec said she didn’t know whether she choked to death or whether there were health issues going on that no one knew about.

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However, she noted that no one saw Charlie for the last few weeks of her life because she was suffering a mystery illness.

She also said the girl and her siblings never looked healthy. They often had head lice, which Bec tried her best to help with. 

Pictured: The front of the house Charlie died in, which has a single swing out the front

Pictured: The front of the house Charlie died in, which has a single swing out the front

‘After a while, she came over less and less and then she wasn’t allowed to come over and play with my two-year-old daughter, and she wasn’t allowed to leave the house,’ Bec said.

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Other children in the neighbourhood who also used to play with Charlie said they didn’t see her towards the end of her life either.

Bec remembered Charlie as a ‘beautiful’ girl who was shy, but always smiling happy, and carried around a pink teddy bear.

She used to ride around the yard in a small child’s bike with Bec’s toddler, who Charlie adored.

Bec said the ‘system’ had failed Charlie, accusing the Department of Child Protection of not doing enough to save her. 

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Paramedics were so concerned they rang police before Charlie was even admitted to hospital, officials said. 

Eighteen months ago, police were also called to the home after Charlie’s father attacked her mother, his partner of 18-years, during a fight while he was under the influence of methylamphetamine.

During a sentencing hearing in February, the court heard he had been a habitual user of the drug for many years and, after quitting for a while, relapsed on the night of the attack. 

The fight started in the bedroom before moving to the front yard, where the mother was stabbed three times. 

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‘It (the attack) occurred in front of the house and was witnessed by at least one civilian, who had to pull the defendant away from the victim not once, but twice,’ a prosecutor told the District Court. 

‘Had he not been pulled away there can be no doubt far more serious consequences could have flowed.’ 

The prosecutor told the court the mother wished to return to her partner despite the stabbing. 

‘I think it would be fair to say the victim is probably lacking in insight into the preservation of her own safety,’ the prosecutor said.

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‘I can tell you that the Department of Child Protection has an interest in this matter and certainly should the defendant return to that home, I would anticipate the department would get involved again.’

Debris, including an old mattress, bedding, and unused rabbit hutch, were seen scattered around the yard of the home on Tuesday

Debris, including an old mattress, bedding, and unused rabbit hutch, were seen scattered around the yard of the home on Tuesday 

The father was initially charged with attempted murder before pleaded guilty to the downgraded offence of causing harm with intent. 

He was sentenced in March this year to five years and six months in jail with a non-parole period of three years and six months. 

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Four years ago, he was also sentenced for aggravated assault for slapping the same victim in the face.  

Now, investigators will probe what other interactions they had with the family in the years leading up to Charlie’s death. 

Charlie’s uncle, who cannot be named for legal reasons, expressed disbelief about what had happened.

‘It’s f***ed,’ he said. ‘I didn’t find out on Friday – I found out she died on Monday.’  

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SA Deputy Police Commissioner Linda Williams said the six-year-old’s living conditions were ‘poor’ and said it was too early to determine if her death could have been prevented. 

She could not confirm the last time Charlie had been seen or even attended school.  

A special taskforce has been formed to investigate her death and the circumstances behind it. 

The grass was overgrown and the yard littered with kids toys and miscellaneous items

The grass was overgrown and the yard littered with kids toys and miscellaneous items 

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Task Force Prime will investigate possible criminal neglect charges relating to her five siblings living in the same house.

All of them have been removed from the home and are now in the care of the state’s Department for Child Protection.

Acting Premier Susan Close said a government review would investigate the interactions between Charlie’s family and the state’s human services, child protection, education and housing agencies. 

The chief executive of the Department of Premier and Cabinet will determine which services were engaged, how they collaborated, how effective they were, and what changes might be required. 

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Child Protection Minister Katrine Hildyard said these were ‘absolutely tragic and heart breaking circumstances’ and offered her sympathies to Charlie’s family. 

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