Police investigate if toddler shot herself by accident
A FATHER charged over the possession of an illegal sawn-off shotgun that killed his three-year-old daughter in her Western Sydney home on Sunday was due to face court on unrelated drug charges just hours after the girl died.
The man, who cannot be identified, instead faced five firearm and apprehended domestic violence order charges related to the shooting yesterday, following the death of the girl from a fatal neck wound at her Lalor Park home on Sunday night. He is due to face Blacktown Local Court on Friday.
The 43-year-old father was not charged with causing her death.
A family friend at the girl's grandparents' home in Arncliffe yesterday said the family was distraught.
"The people inside have also lost a son because he's now in jail ... what happened was a tragedy," he said.
Yesterday, parents at a primary school attended by the dead girl's brothers described her as a "beautiful little girl" full of life when she came to pick up her brothers with her mother.
"The whole family was gorgeous, we only just found out about it, we're all in shock," one mother said.
"She was a beautiful little girl ... she was full of beans."
The father shook nervously in the back of a paddy wagon barefoot and dressed in a blue forensic suit, before his Blacktown Local Court appearance yesterday, where he was refused bail on three firearm charges and contravening two Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders - one at the home where the girl died and the other at a family address in Arncliffe.
He was due to face Downing Centre Court yesterday over allegedly participating in a criminal group and dealing with property suspected of being the proceeds of crime over an alleged mortgage fraud scheme laid in 2015.
On Sunday night, the man was seen sitting, head in hands, in the gutter outside the house just after the shooting as paramedics vainly tried to stem the bleeding from the little girl's severe neck wound.
Neighbours took the girl's three brothers into their home after the shooting and all three boys gave statements to police yesterday. The girl's distraught mother was heard screaming "not my baby girl" after the gun went off. Video from the scene caught her yelling hysterically: "I hate you, I hate you" and "rot in hell".
Neighbours heard the booming gunshot followed by the screams of the girl's mother, which sent them running out into Danny Rd about 8pm. "The mother came out, she was really angry and she was just screaming," neighbour Mark Tupua said.
"She was just saying it was his fault, he shouldn't have had a gun in the house. I seen another guy leave the house, blood all over his hands."
Riverstone Police Commander Acting Superintendent Paul Carrett said: "When police arrived ... they found the child had suffered a fatal wound to her neck."
"The death of a three-year-old child under any circumstances is tragic. It is tragic for the family and it is tragic for the police and other emergency services who attend these scenes," he added
The girl's older siblings attend St Joseph's primary school at Schofields. Yesterday, principal Lesley Studans sent out a note to parents to inform them of the tragedy.
"This morning we received the devastating news of the death of the three-year-old sister of St Joseph's students," she wrote.
"I appreciate that speaking to your child about matters like this can be very challenging.
"It is at these very difficult times that we see best what a caring community we have here at St Joseph's."
She wrote in the note that specialist staff and counsellors had been at the school and would "remain here as long as needed". One student at the school told how the little girl would run up to her at school pick-up.
"She would run around and was really cute, she would ask to play and would always say hi," she said.
Another mum said she was "beautiful" and a "sweet" girl.
One parent said: "They are a lovely family ... I met the mum a couple of times, the kids always seemed happy."
Investigations are continuing.