Woman to be sentenced for baby’s murder

Baby Anastasia. Photo: GoFundMe
Baby Anastasia. Photo: GoFundMe

A TEENAGE mother who mistreated her four-month-old baby, including shaking the infant, should receive a fixed jail term rather than a life sentence for murder, her lawyer has argued in a Perth court.

Cassandra Rose Doohan was 18 when she inflicted injuries on her baby Anastasia at their Capel home in Western Australia’s South West region in May 2017.

Doohan cried in the WA Supreme Court on Monday as details of her offending were outlined.

Anastasia’s father found her limp and “floppy” body in her cot after he came out of the shower and the girl died in hospital two days later.

She had suffered a traumatic brain injury and fractures.

Doohan, now 20, originally pleaded not guilty to murder but later admitted her crime.

Defence counsel Seamus Rafferty said Doohan’s case was exceptional and she should be handed a fixed prison sentence rather than the usual mandatory life term for murder.

Mr Rafferty said Doohan had a childhood absent of love and devotion, and had a violent and sadistic father.

He described her as socially inept and said she had wanted to have a baby because she had a fantasy of creating a “perfect little world” for herself.

But the reality of the responsibility of being a mother was very different and Doohan never bonded with her baby.

“Her concept of motherhood was completely skewed,” Mr Rafferty said.

Prosecutor James Mactaggart said Anastasia had been seen with bruises weeks before her death and child protection authorities had become involved.

Justice Anthony Derrick said he needed more time to consider the submissions.

He will sentence Doohan on Tuesday.