A doctor has pleaded guilty to attempted murder after giving an insulin prescription to a mother who allegedly used it to try and kill her severely disabled six-year-old daughter. The 48-year-old doctor entered a guilty plea after the mother, who allegedly tried to murder her disabled daughter by overdosing her on insulin, obtained a prescription for the drug from his Albany practice on January 17.
Pieter Theunis Austin faced Perth’s Stirling Gardens Magistrates court, Western Australia, on Wednesday morning via video link from Casuarina prison. Austin had been held in custody since being arrested on February 3 by Child Abuse Squad detectives. On January 19, the 40-year-old mother, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, allegedly injected her daughter with the synthetic insulin so that she would ‘pass away peacefully’.
The Western Australian mother-of-four was the sole around-the-clock carer for her daughter and has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder. The six-year-old girl was taken to a local medical facility by a concerned relative before being moved to Albany Hospital where her condition stabilised. The child was then flown over 420km by the Royal Flying Doctor Service to Perth Children’s Hospital.
She will face the Supreme Court next week and has been released on bail with strict conditions including making no attempt to contact the child or Austin. Austin made no application for bail and will reappear in court next week. A previous court hearing heard lawyers for the mother will defend the charge of attempted murder by arguing whether she had an intent to kill her daughter.
Austin was remanded in custody and made no application to be released on bail. He will reappear in the Supreme Court on December 14 for sentencing. In December 2016, the mother started a GoFundMe account with the intent of raising $20,000 to help her ‘beautiful baby girl’ suffering from ‘neurological issues’.
Austin will face the Supreme Court of Western Australia (pictured) in December for sentencing. The fund managed to raise the $20,000 in just four months and drew in donations from around the world. She appeared to be a doting and concerned mother when she launched the campaign. She wrote her daughter had been ‘diagnosed with a neurological issue that affects her ability to organise her gross and fine movement patterns’.
The mother made a final post in August 2017, writing that her daughter’s progress had been slow. ‘Two steps forward, one back kind of thing it can be quite frustrating at times,’ she said. ‘However the emotional highs we have when she makes any bit of progress more than makes up for it.’