Father of twins who died from malnutrition awaits fate
UPDATE: A JUSTICE has told a father of six that his "selfish lifestyle" and the "gross disregard" of his parental duties resulted in his 18-month-old twins dying from malnutrition as he ordered an eight-year jail term.
Justice Peter Lyons said the man's alcoholism - $30-40 worth a night - together with his nightly and weekend poker games meant he was rarely at his Sunnybank home.
He said that he left his partner caring for six children 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Justice Lyons said being caught drink-driving twice placed his job in jeopardy which added to financial stress in the family.
He said the man was a reasonably good father, feeding and playing with the children, until his relationship began breaking down.
Justice Lyons said his then selfish approach to the family meant he did not recognise his partner was not coping and did not check on the children despite warning signs.
"You continued to live a lifestyle that suited you," he said.
"You failed them badly.
"That neglect reduced them to a pitiful condition that resulted in their deaths."
The man walked past the twins' room several times daily but claimed his partner did not want him waking the twins so he never checked on them.
He barely saw them in the five months before they died in June, 2008, and did not see them for at least a month before they starved.
The man has already served 90 days in custody.
He will be eligible for parole in March, 2017.
13.48pm: A SELF-CONFESSED "bad father", who did not see his twins for at least a month before they died from malnutrition, will learn his fate this afternoon.
The man, who now lives at Laidley, assumed his then de facto wife was taking care of the twins at their Sunnybank Hills home in 2008, but even after he was warned their health was in question, he still did not check on them.
The 18-month-old twins had been dead in their cot for a week when their 11-year-old sister found them.
The man, now 34, pleaded guilty in July to manslaughter and will be sentenced in Brisbane Supreme Court today.
Crown prosecutor Michael Byrne said the father told police he saw the older children, sometimes taking them to the shops and doing the school pick-up and drop-off.
But he said the man barely saw the twins for six months.
Mr Byrne said there was a "total disconnect" just before they died, describing the actions "akin to wickedness".
"It was maybe a month ago (I last saw them); I'm a bad father," he said.
Mr Byrne said the breach of the man's parental duty came in the context of a fundamental breakdown in the family unit.
He said the dysfunctional family mostly stemmed from his partner's mental health deterioration.
Mr Byrne said the man's continued absence from the family unit added to the stress and ignoring his partner's problems contributed to the duty breach.
He said the man told police he thought his partner was just chasing attention with her whinging and crying.
"His breaches in respect of both deaths are gross," he said.
"His conduct is more than a split-second decision.
"It resulted in the death of two infants who were, by virtue of their age, helpless.
"It is turning a blind eye when he is warned that something needs to be done."
Defence barrister Greg McGuire said his client conceded he was a bad father but his sin was what he did not do, rather than what he did.
He said the man's own father did not engage with his children and this was second generation behaviour.
Mr McGuire said the man divorced himself from his family which was selfish rather than reflecting criminality.
The Crown has asked for seven to nine years jail while defence has sought five to six years.
Justice Peter Lyons will deliver his sentence at 2.30pm.