Mum spared but dad jailed for kidnapping own sons
A FATHER of seven who kidnapped two of his children during a supervised access visit has been jailed, but their mother has been spared prison - and is pregnant yet again.
The couple, who cannot be identified, were sentenced on Thursday in the District Court.
Each had pleaded guilty to two aggravated counts each of sending or taking a child out of jurisdiction.
In October 2018, the father, 34, drove away with both boys - aged three and six - after taking them to wash their hands during a Child Protection Department access visit.
The mother, 23, asked workers where the trio had gone, and then left the building to meet up with them across the road.
Police found the children safe and well at Broken Hill a day later - the couple had packed two cars with all of their belongings, and their dogs, and were headed for Queensland.
Counsel for the couple had urged the court to show leniency, saying the father had acted "impulsively", "spontaneously" and out of "desperation".
They said he believed the two children had been mistreated, and physically injured, while under the supervision of the Department.
The mother, they said, "had no idea" the father would stage a kidnapping.
In sentencing on Thursday, Judge Paul Cuthbertson said both parents had endured "unfortunate" childhoods of their own.
"I accept the submission that the mother did not know (about the kidnapping), although I am extremely suspicious," he said.
"I think it's highly likely she suggested her husband take the boys to wash their hands to give him the opportunity to get the children out.
"She is currently 30 weeks pregnant."
Judge Cuthbertson jailed the father for 1 ½ years, with a 12-month non-parole period, and the mother for 12 months, with an eight-month non-parole period.
He suspended the mother's sentence on condition of a three-year, $100 good behaviour bond.