Follow by Email

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Westgate Bridge Father Guilty

It was meant to be her first day of school for Darcy Freeman who was turning 5 years old in a few days time. Her father was taking Darcy and her two brothers to school. Just after 9 am, driving over the Westgate bridge towards the city of Melbourne, Freeman got in the left hand lane, slowed down and finally stopped.

He got out of the car, walked to the rear passenger door where his two sons Ben 6 and Jack 2 were sitting, learned over to Darcy and unbuckled her seat belt. He then carried her to the edge of the bridge near its highest point. The child seemed to go limp, she didn't fight or struggle or cry out. He walked to the edge of the bridge, lifted her over the railing and let her go. She fell 58 metres into the water below. Freeman then got back into his car and drove off as frantic motorists called police.

Water Police got to her first, she had shocking injuries and was taken to the Children's hospital in a critical condition. Then the police, who feared for the safety of the other two children, started a massive search for her father.

At around 10.30am they were called to the Family Law Courts in the city. Security staff phoned police after seeing a man in the foyer crying and shaking uncontrollably. His two sons were clinging to him and he begged the security guards to take them. When police arrived, Freeman was arrested and taken away. His ex-wife Peta, rushed to the hospital to be with her daughter but she died shortly after.

So why did he do it? Freeman was so angry with his ex-wife, he carried out the ultimate act of revenge. The day before, the family court ruled that his access time with his children was to be reduced and he decided to punish his ex wife by killing all their children. No one knows if given the opportunity, he would have carried out his threat to also murder his two sons.

On Monday, the jury foreman told Justice Paul Coghlan that they would never be able to agree unanimously on a verdict but the judge told them they must try. One day later, they made their final decision and yesterday found him guilty.

The jury heard that Freeman rang his ex-wife and said ''Say goodbye to your children'' just minutes before he dropped Darcey to her death. Of the six psychiatrists who assessed Freeman, Professor Graham Burrows was the only one who said he was suffering a major depressive disorder. Yvonne Skinner and Douglas Bell didn't agree and said there was no evidence to suggest he was mentally impaired and did not know what he was doing was wrong.

Update: Today, 11 April 2011, Freeman was sentenced to life in jail with a non-parole period of 32 years.