Neighbours of a woman accused of murdering two of her children and attempting to kill her eldest child have told a Brisbane Supreme Court jury they thought she was a "good, loving mother".
The woman, who cannot be identified, gassed her eight-year-old son and her 10-year-old daughter with carbon monoxide fumes from the family's car, parked in the garage of their Sandstone Point home, near Bribie Island, in November 2002.
The woman has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and also not guilty to the attempted murder of her disabled 16-year-old son, who escaped the car and garage.
Yesterday defence barrister Craig Chowdhury said there was no dispute his client killed two of her children and tried to kill her eldest son, but said the case's critical issue would be her mental state at the time of the deaths.
The Crown alleges the woman killed her children as a "selfish and cowardly act" designed to hurt her ex-husband, the father of the children.
Yesterday, on the first day of the trial, an elderly woman who lived next door to the family gave tearful evidence that she had been close to the accused woman, who she believed was "a good mother".
"She looked after her children very well ... you could see she loved them very much," said the neighbour.
However days before the children's deaths, she saw the woman looking "shaky, very down".
The accused woman told the neighbour that her ex-husband was going to have custody of the children over Christmas 2002, though she had tried to fight against such an order in the Family Court.
"He was going to take them off her ... she was very upset about that," she said.
Another neighbour gave evidence he also believed the woman was "a very loving mother".
"She would always take (the children) to the school bus, there were cuddles all round," he said.
"I couldn't see any problems at all."
The neighbour told the court on the day the children died he saw the family's garage door was partly open and the neighbour's car parked inside.
"I could see the driver's door open and a pair of feet hanging out, they were a purple colour," he said.
"I looked in the rear window ... it was the two little ones."
He called an ambulance and when paramedics arrived, one officer examined the children and announced "there's nothing I can do for them", the neighbour said.
Yesterday afternoon, the children's father also gave evidence, telling the court relations between he and his ex-wife had been "hostile to tolerable" following their split in 1997.
The man, who also cannot be named, said there were times when he could not get access to the children, in particular when he began a new relationship in early 1999.
He said at that time his former wife told him: "While you're still seeing that bitch you're not seeing the kids".
The trial, before Justice Philip McMurdo, continues today.
Woman Who Gassed Children In Car Was A Good Mum: Neighbours
More Related Coverage
'The ultimate act of hate'
A mother committed "the ultimate act of hate" against her ex-husband when she murdered their two children and tried to kill their eldest child, a jury has been told.
Refresh - Go to homepage
My three cents:
This woman should be let loose in jail with all the inmates cells unlocked .. after they've been told what she did. She deserves what ever would happen to her.