Mum charged with double murder over girls’ deaths

 

A LOGAN mother has been charged with double murder after her baby girls were found dead in a hot car on Saturday.

Kerri-Ann Conley, 27, will face Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday on two counts of murder after the two girls - aged one and two - were pulled unresponsive from the car outside a home in Waterford West, south of Brisbane, about 1.35pm.

The temperature in the area at 1.30pm was 31C. Paramedics could not revive them.

Detective Inspector Mark White said the "very young" children showed signs of exposure to extreme heat, while neighbours claimed they saw them in the car up to seven hours before they were found.

Detectives at the harrowing scene. Photo: AAP Image/Richard Gosling
Detectives at the harrowing scene. Photo: AAP Image/Richard Gosling

"We are speaking with the parents of those children and it's just a very, very tragic incident that has occurred," Insp White told media before Conley was charged last night.

"We are in the process of conducting an investigation but also being mindful of the tragic circumstances. We're at a very fast-paced stage of the investigation now, we have a lot of moving parts.

"Identifying who made phone calls to the QAS will form part of it and exactly what the circumstances were surrounding that."

Insp White said support was in place for first responders at the scene.

"As I said, it's tragic and we are putting a lot of emphasis on supporting our staff, because it's a very difficult job," he said.

Detective Inspector Mark White speaking about the two children found dead in a car on Logan Reserve Road, Waterford West. Picture: Patrick Billings
Detective Inspector Mark White speaking about the two children found dead in a car on Logan Reserve Road, Waterford West. Picture: Patrick Billings

Neighbours last night spoke of seeing confronting scenes as emergency services removed the young bodies.

One neighbour said her grandson had claimed to have seen the children in the car as early as 6.30am.

Neighbours said the family had moved in as recently as six months ago. The home is expected to remain a crime scene for several days.

One neighbour said the two girls' bodies were carried out of the home by police.

Detectives comb the scene.
Detectives comb the scene.

"My grand-daughters saw the babies being carried out of the house soaking wet," she said.

Detectives returned to the scene briefly and recovered some items from a rubbish bin at the property late last night as mourners arrived with flowers and tributes.

"I've just seen it on Facebook and I feel so sorry for the little babies," Nicole Thompson said.

"I'm crying even though they're not my kids."

One said she had seen the girls' mother before but didn't know her well.

"Knowing it happened just there is so sad," she said.

"No baby should have to go through that."

Neighbour Willow Dawes was visibly shocked by the distressing scenes.

The house is now a crime scene. Photo: AAP Image/Richard Gosling
The house is now a crime scene. Photo: AAP Image/Richard Gosling

"I came out when the ambulance pulled up and saw the children being brought out," she said. "It's pretty upsetting and it was quite confronting."

In March 2016, before the family moved in, the low-set home was scoured by police investigating the murder of Beenleigh schoolgirl Tiahleigh Palmer but found no link to the then-occupants.

Kidsafe Queensland chief executive Susan Teerds said her heart went out to the family and that it was a tragic reminder that children should never be left in a car.

Police at the scene. AAP Image/Richard Gosling
Police at the scene. AAP Image/Richard Gosling

"You cannot leave your kids in the car even for one minute ­- it doesn't matter if you have the window cracked, it doesn't matter if your car is black or white," she said. "Their small bodies cannot cope with the heat."

Ms Teerds said the temperature inside a parked car could have been as much as 40C higher than outside, with the biggest rise within the first five minutes.

She said anyone who saw a child in a car should call triple-0 or RACQ.

- Additional reporting by Hayden Johnson and Stephanie Bennett



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