Missing Scone baby: Mother to face murder trial

MYSTERY: The mother leaving court after an earlier appearance.

MYSTERY: The mother leaving court after an earlier appearance.

THE mental health of a woman accused of murdering her 16-month-old daughter at Scone in 2001 appears to be deteriorating and she needs to be re-assessed to determine if she is fit to stand trial, Newcastle Supreme Court has heard.

The woman, 44, appeared in court on Monday on what was expected to be the first day of her estimated five-week judge-alone trial.

But barrister, Tim Gartelmann, SC, who cited the observations of his instructing solicitor, told Justice Robert Allan Hulme the woman’s mental health appeared to be deteriorating, culminating in her presenting to Maitland Hospital over the weekend. 

She was not admitted to the facility, Mr Gartelmann said.

The matter was adjourned until Tuesday morning so the woman could be re-assessed by a doctor as to her mental fitness to stand trial.

The woman, who remains on conditional bail, is accused of murdering her daughter between Christmas Day, 2000 and February 28, 2001, court documents state. 

The toddler wasn’t reported missing until 2004.

Her remains have never been found.