Mother of tortured, killed baby, speaks out
SHE saw an egg-shaped lump on her new born baby's face.
She saw her then partner strike her just-weeks-old baby on the chin when she fussed during a feed.
But Sarah Mooney says she did not see the signs that lead to the death of baby Paige, who had the life horrifically squeezed out her at just 31-days-old by her own father.
Yesterday Michael John Humphreys was sentenced to nine years jail for torturing and killing his infant daughter at their Gunalda home, leaving her with grotesque internal injuries including broken vertebrae and ribs, a fractured skull and a bleeding spleen and pancreas.
His ex-partner Sarah was at the courtroom, uncontrollably shaking and sweating at the sight of the man that not only took her daughter from her five years ago, but whose actions led to accusations of Sarah's role in failing to protect her baby.
She was convicted of failing to provide necessities of life to an infant after her death and has been repeatedly attacked on social media.
Talking to The Gympie Times, while still digesting the finality of the court proceedings, Sarah, 26, needs her side of the story told.
"I did everything I physically could - being in a serious domestic violence relationship - to keep not just my baby safe but my two other children and my mother," she said.
When Paige was 10 days old Humphreys told Sarah that Paige had rolled off the bed leaving a lump below the little girl's right ear.
Sarah believed it had been an accident and when she tried to take her daughter to the hospital she was threatened.
"I tried everything I could to take her to the hospital, but I had someone holding me up against the wall by my throat - saying if I did he would be accused of bashing Paige and my two other children would be taken off me."
"If you're in a relationship you make excuses for the person who supposedly loves you back."
But later when she saw her partner hit Paige while bottle feeding her, followed by spates of verbal abuse towards the infant: calling her a "little b**ch" if she cried for too long and to "f***ing shut up", she tried to keep Paige away from him.
She slept in a separate room with Paige on her chest not to anger her partner.
Recovering from a C-section and with Humphreys in control of the car, bank card and phone, Sarah said she was powerless.
"If I had the chance - if I had the keys and the phone - I wouldn't have stayed there," she said.
"I missed the signs and I'll do my time for the rest of my life for not standing up to protect her against the things that I now know."
She said the day before Paige died, at just one month old, she seemed sleepy but she put it down to the heat.
That night she discovered a hand print on her back when she bathed her.
The next morning Paige was unresponsive when Sarah woke - she tried CPR - talked through it over the phone while waiting for the paramedics to arrive but it was too late.
She did not find out the significance of her tiny daughter's internal injuries until six weeks after her death.
When asked if Sarah believes her ex-partner meant to kill Paige she answered a definite "Yes."
"He could not physically handle her screaming," she said.
He could control the older kids by telling them to shut up, Sarah said.
"But because (Paige was) a newborn - that's how he lost control - he doesn't like it when he loses control."
Sarah said she will live with her guilt every day, but said those criticising her need to look in the mirror and say 'if I was in her shoes would I be able to do anything differently?'
"It is physically impossible to get out."
Now with the sentencing behind her Sarah says she can finally remember her baby girl for who she was - not for how she died or who is to blame.