Ice addict mum lost two babies in year
A DRUG-addicted Sydney mother who lost two newborn babies in just over a year told an inquest she smoked ice while pregnant, and then later in front of her children.
A coronial investigation is examining the sudden deaths of the two half-sisters, known as BLGN and DG, who were three months and 19 days old respectively when they died in 2014 and 2015.
"I've had an ice addiction since I was 13," the tearful mother told Glebe Coroners Court on Monday.
"I wasn't a top mum, I would change many things."
The young woman, who has had two miscarriages since her daughters died, broke down as she denied statements from neighbours claiming her other children were often found hungry in the street.
"They were always fed, they never starved. I would steal food if I had to," she said.
But the woman agreed there was no food in the house the day BLGN died, adding that when she was coming down off drugs she became lazy "not just with parenting, with everything".
"No one is suggesting you didn't love your kids," Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame said.
The coroner said while nothing could bring them back, the inquest's task was to learn lessons to help other vulnerable mothers needing support.
"The problem that was going on was pretty obvious," she said.
Child protection workers repeatedly failed to remove BLGN despite receiving multiple risk of significant harm reports, said counsel assisting Kate Richardson SC.
Ms Richardson said the previously homeless mother and her grandmother, who were both known to police, regularly used ice in front of BLGN and her two older siblings in the days leading up to the death.
Police found ice pipes at the house the day the three-month-old baby was discovered unmoving in her cot, which was crowded with toys, blankets, an adult-sized pillow and two baby bottles, the court heard.
An autopsy found no suspicious injuries but the court heard a drug dealer who came to the house the night before the tragedy put his hands on the crying baby's mouth to make her "shut up".
"Your honour will also have to consider whether another person had any role in her death," Ms Richardson said in her opening address.
A Mission Australia employee told the Department of Family and Community Services she did not want "blood on her hands" after BLGN's case was dropped altogether due to "competing priorities", she said.
"The following day, (BLGN) died," Ms Richardson said.