Default setting: Femicide

In 2009, in the midst of a custody battle with his estranged wife, scumbag father drives over the Westgate Bridge in Melbourne, and tosses his four year old daughter off the bridge, on what would have been her first day of school.

Darcey’s two brothers were also in the vehicle, and no attempt was made to toss them over the bridge. Prior to driving over the bridge and murdering his daughter, scumbag Arthur Freeman had phoned his wife with “say goodbye to your children”. Freeman has pleaded ‘not guilty’ to murdering his daughter, the trial is continuing at the moment.

Some of the testimony of Peta Barnes, the children’s mother, can be read here.

An account from the oldest of the three children, then aged six, can be read here. The younger brother was two at the time.

A psychiatrist testifying for the defence is claiming that Freeman ‘was suffering from a major depressive disorder and possible psychosis’ when he threw his daughter off the bridge.

Strange how this psychosis only took itself out on the daughter, and neither of the sons, particularly as Freeman showed a degree of premeditation that he was going to harm the children.

More and more we see fathers punish their former wives by killing the children, these dudes know that is worse then killing the wives themselves, and that the wives must live every day with the loss of their children.

I am fairly certain that this dude will be found guilty, everyone on the Melbourne jury would already have known about this incident and been shocked by it. Hopefully he won’t be sentenced to a psychiatric hospital but to regular prison. Maybe some good old ‘inside justice’ will be carried out.

35 thoughts on “Default setting: Femicide

  1. maggie

    ‘Earlier, he wept while a forensic pathologist detailed injuries Darcey sustained in her fall.’

    Because it’s all about HIS pain. And he’s not a monster. He’s not psychotic. He’s a man.

    The children’s testimony is shocking.


  2. FAB Libber

    And here is some suspicious stuff, the defence team went through three other shrinks until they got this male-apologist:
    In his cross-examination, lead prosecutor Gavin Silbert SC named four other psychiatrists who had seen Mr Freeman before Professor Burrows and questioned whether he was “the psychiatrist of last resort”.

    “The defence approached you . . . after receiving unfavourable opinions from those (other) psychiatrists,” Mr Silbert said.

    Because this is the crap the shrink comes up with:
    He said Mr Freeman’s dissociation would have “fluctuated” on that day, enabling him to undertake tasks such as speaking to friends, driving and putting on his hazard lights.

    “If I had seen him, I would have labelled him psychotic,” Professor Burrows said.

    “He believed that he had threats made against him by his father-in-law. He believed that he would be killed if he didn’t co-operate. He believed there had been an organised plan to remove him from his children and destroy his marriage.”

    When asked if Mr Freeman’s breakdown at the Family Court after he killed Darcey could have been a display of shock consistent with spousal revenge, he replied: “I don’t think it was just spousal revenge. It was related to his depressive. . . disorder.”

    Yep. He had no probs driving the vehicle, but managed to toss the only female child of the three…
    die prick, die.


  3. ball buster

    Oh jesus. 😦

    I’ve always found it interesting that the medical community pathologizes men to give them what they want, but pathologizes women to punish them. A man who is “disordered” is coddled and given special treatment. A woman who is “disordered” is treated like she is a failure, worthless, and given horrible treatment.

    I don’t even buy – FOR A MOMENT – that only depression caused this. No, CONTROL motivated this. Hate and anger for not “owning” the wife and kids any longer, THAT is what motivated this.

    May he rot in hell.


  4. FAB Libber

    It is clear that it was premeditated too. But the threat was for “kids” plural, and he only murdered Darcey.

    The only one who should have gone over the bridge that day was him.

    I guess they could not use the old “he just snapped” defence, because the dood wanted to arrogantly gloat to the ex.


  5. jilla

    The next time some MRA starts telling you how good NA and UK women have it, and how we feminists are so lucky, just look at the horrendous crimes women in OTHER countries face: (no argument, but we don’t need to go that far. )

    From a newspaper column:on the subject of “barbarism”, which as we know, is what we call it when men from other cultures commit femicide:

    “William Wade Bicknell, the six-foot-six, 408-pound escaped convict, currently the subject of a provincial manhunt (…) escaped while on an escorted day pass to Edmonton from a minimum security prison, where he was serving time for the 2001 murder of his girlfriend, Angela Speer, whom he bludgeoned to death with a baseball bat. He dumped her petite body by the side of a road -then claimed he acted in self-defence.

    And what adjective would you use to describe the case of Trevor Bobocel, the Wandering River man charged this week with second degree murder and offering an indignity to a body, in the death of his common-law wife, Roxanne Bigelow. RCMP have delicately said their forensic investigations involved a brush cutter -a machine similar to a mulcher.


  6. FAB Libber

    Aileen, It got a lot of coverage at the time, and I think almost everyone then thought he was the lowest piece of scum on earth. The jury would of course be made up of these Melbourites that remember it well, so the guilty verdict should be a given. It will be up to the judge, and lets hope the judge doesn’t cave in and send him to a secured hospital, but prison instead. Actually, if I was the judge, when sending off the jury to deliberate, the instructions would include: “You must reach a verdict of innocent (laughs), guilty, or really fucking guilty…”

    Of course, everyone in Melbourne also knows the Westgate bridge is a successful suicide spot (only maybe one person has survived I think) even though the meeja don’t report the suicides. So he knew what he was doing, even if he (and I don’t believe he did) lose the plot, that knowledge would still be in the back of his mind.

    Jilla, yep. There are a lot of really huge dudes, the size of a truck, that pulverise their petite female partners to death, then claim it was self defence. Others that claim the excessive repeat blows were ‘self defence’. And yet, women who have been beaten and terrorised for 25 years, never get the luxury of using ‘self defence’ defence. I am going to go back and reread some of the proposed changes to the law on this, which supposedly are supposed to work for battered women, but they really did not sound promising at all.


  7. FAB Libber

    Two more bits from the newspapers today:
    The court heard the girl was close to her mother and a change in custody arrangements which had angered and upset Freeman centred on her needs.
    Which is what I thought I recalled from the time, that Darcey and her mother were very close.

    Darcey’s bridge death was ‘spousal revenge’

    There is no evidence to suggest that a man who threw his four-year-old daughter off the West Gate Bridge was mentally impaired to a point where he was unable to distinguish between right and wrong, a court has heard.

    Experienced clinical psychiatrist Dr Yvonne Skinner, called by the prosecution as a rebuttal witness in Arthur Phillip Freeman’s Supreme Court murder trial, testified today that she believed Freeman was acting consciously and voluntarily when he threw his daughter Darcey 58 metres to her death.

    Freeman, 37, of Hawthorn, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Darcey on January 29, 2009.

    Dr Skinner told the court she assessed Freeman over several hours on November 22 last year and did not believe he was psychotic on the day of her death.

    When asked if she believed Freeman’s actions were consistent with ‘‘spousal revenge’’ or ‘‘filicide’’ (killing a child to get back at a spouse), Dr Skinner answered ‘‘yes.’’

    She said this was apparent by the fact that Freeman had got his children ready that morning, loaded up the car, made several phone calls on his way to Melbourne, spoke to his children on the way, received phone calls from his wife during which he made threats against the children’s lives.

    He had also parked the car on the bridge, put his car’s hazard lights on, asked his daughter to climb into the front of the vehicle, got out of the car, picked her up and tossed her over the railing, she said. Then he got back into his car and continued driving, stopped further up the road so his son Ben could get in the front seat, parked his car at the Commonwealth Law Courts and went inside where he was ultimately arrested.

    Freeman’s actions that day were ‘‘well organised and purposeful’’, Dr Skinner said.

    ‘‘There is no evidence that he had a mental illness or automatism and that he did not know what he was doing was wrong.’’

    She agreed with defence witness, Professor Graham Burrows, who testified yesterday that Freeman was likely to have been suffering depression at the time of his daughter’s death and was under a lot of stress following a two-day court hearing to determine the financial settlement with his ex-wife and custody arrangements surrounding their three children. But she said she disagreed with the professor on the severity of his depression.

    She also agreed that Freeman might have been in a ‘‘dissociated’’ state when he tossed Darcey off the bridge, explaining that dissociation was a ‘‘transient state’’ so could have lasted for minutes or probably longer.

    The court heard that Freeman told one of six psychiatrists who assessed him following the event, that his daughter was headstrong and unmanageable, needed firm handling and also craved attention.

    The trial, before Justice Paul Coghlan, continues.


  8. FAB Libber

    Here is another dude, doing almost exactly the same – phones the mother of the children to let her know he is about to kill her children, then drives off into a river with the two children (girl and a boy). The daughter did not survive, the son did. So did the asshole father, who has just been found guilty.

    Evesham river plunge father guilty of murder

    A father who drove his car into a river to kill his two children has been found guilty of murder and attempted murder.

    Gabrielle Grady, five, died three days after spending two hours submerged in the River Avon in Evesham, Worcestershire, on 11 February 2010.

    Christopher Grady’s then six-year-old son, Ryan, was rescued.

    Grady, 42, of no fixed address, had previously told the trial at Birmingham Crown Court that he would never harm his children.

    He is due to be sentenced on Tuesday.

    Witnesses told the trial how they had heard the children screaming for help.

    The jury returned a verdict after being sent out on 16 March.

    Grady, who survived after being pulled from the water by police, had warned the children’s mother, Kim Smith, she had 10 seconds to say goodbye to them before he drove into the river.

    Supt Steve Cullen, senior investigating officer in the case, said: “The death of any child is an absolute tragedy and our thoughts are with Gabby and Ryan’s family who are deeply traumatised and devastated at the loss of a precious young girl and the suffering her brother had to endure.”

    He added: “Although today we see Christopher Grady brought to justice, this is no triumph, and does not take away the fact that a little girl has died and a little boy has undergone unimaginable suffering.”

    He praised Insp Sean Kent and Sgt Phil Stayte who both went into the water and helped pull Ryan to safety.


  9. jilla

    We could post incident after incident here. It never ends.

    Last week men at a reserve party raped and beat a 15-yr old native girl, then dumped her in a ditch outside her reserve. The RCMP don’t know yet if she was dead before she was dumped.


  10. jilla

    I think we need a good news thread. That would be the one where there’d be heavy convictions and public sanctions.

    A very short thread.


  11. FAB Libber

    my gawd, the jury is still deliberating…

    THE jury in the Arthur Phillip Freeman murder trial will resume deliberations for the third day tomorrow.

    After asking for more time this afternoon, the jury retired for the day at 6pm.

    Mr Freeman, 37, has pleaded not guilty on the ground of mental impairment to murdering his daughter, Darcey Freeman, 4, by throwing her off the West Gate Bridge on January 29, 2009.

    Darcey fell 58 metres to her death.

    Mr Freeman’s barrister, David Brustman, SC, submitted during a two-week Supreme Court trial that Mr Freeman was mentally impaired at the time.

    Prosecutor Gavin Silbert, SC, alleged Mr Freeman threw his daughter off the bridge in a deliberate act after a custody battle.

    The verdict can ONLY be: “We find the defendant, Arthur Scumbag, Very Fucking Guilty, Your Honour”

    The sentence should be to tie him to a pole in Bourke Street, and let the general public have at him.


  12. ball buster

    Oh jesus, Fab, this doesn’t look good. I heard somewhere that the longer a verdict takes the worse the outcome is going to be. I suspect that they’re still “what about the poor Nigel”ing in the jury quarters. Damn. That poor little girl needs justice. 😦


  13. FAB Libber

    News from an hour and a half ago.

    Tearful bridge murder jury struggles with decision

    Justice Paul Coughlan will not dismiss the jury in the trial of a man who threw his daughter off a Melbourne bridge in 2009.

    Arthur Freeman, 37, threw four-year-old Darcey Freeman off the Westgate Bridge in January 2009.

    He has pleaded not guilty of murder on the grounds of mental impairment.

    The jury, in its fourth day of deliberations, has told the court it does not believe it can ever reach a unanimous verdict.

    Several jurors were in tears.

    But Justice Paul Coughlan told them to continue deliberations and re-examine evidence.

    He told the jury it has been remarkably thorough and conscientious and he understands it is stressful.

    Freeman does not deny he threw his daughter to her death, but his lawyers have argued he is not guilty by reason of mental impairment.

    The jury has indicated it is having trouble separating the evidence of psychiatrists in the trial.

    It will resume deliberations Monday morning.
    Not sounding promising.


  14. FAB Libber

    Here is another little girl, kidnapped from her bedroom:

    Neighbours to testify at schoolgirl murder hearing

    Neighbours of murdered eight-year-old schoolgirl Trinity Bates, who was found in a drain in Bundaberg in southern Queensland, are expected to give evidence at a committal hearing today.

    Allyn John Slater, 21, is charged with murdering the schoolgirl, who was found face down in water in a drain near her home in February last year.

    She had gone missing from her bed during the night, sparking a police search.

    Yesterday, the Bundaberg Magistrates Court heard an autopsy found Trinity was struck in the head and strangled but most likely died from drowning.

    The court heard her body showed injuries consistent with being dragged.

    Neighbours around the girl’s Walker Street home are expected to give evidence today, as well as other witnesses in the area at the time she went missing.

    Forensic and fingerprint experts are also likely to be called, along with prisoners who spoke to Slater while he was held in a Brisbane prison.

    Among those who gave evidence yesterday was Detective Senior Sergeant Marcus Edwards, who said a fingerprint matching Slater’s was found on the window of the girl’s bedroom, but no DNA evidence was found linking the accused to the girl.

    The hearing is set to run until Wednesday.


  15. FAB Libber

    Arthur Freeman made chilling threat two months before murdering Darcey

    THE man found guilty of murdering his daughter by throwing her off a bridge said his ex-wife would “regret it” if he ever lost custody of his children.

    A close family source – who has asked not to be named for professional reasons – has told the Herald Sun of a conversation in which Arthur Freeman issued the veiled threat.

    The relative said it was uttered at an early family Christmas party at Freeman’s parents’ home at Aireys Inlet in late November 2008 – about two months before little Darcey Freeman was thrown from the bridge.

    “Arthur and I were discussing things about the custody of the children,” the close relative said.

    “During this conversation Arthur said that ‘she (ex-wife Peta Barnes) would regret it’ if he lost custody of the children.

    “That comment has gone through my head over and over. I thought he’d go after Peta – by that I mean making her life hard through legal channels.

    “He loved the kids.”

    The Herald Sun believes police were made aware of the comments during the latter stages of Freeman’s murder trial.

    After five days of deliberation, a jury yesterday found Freeman, 37, guilty of murdering four-year-old Darcey by throwing her from the West Gate Bridge on the morning of January 29, 2009.

    Freeman had pleaded not guilty on the ground of mental impairment.

    The prosecution said he deliberately and consciously killed Darcey.

    The day before he murdered his daughter, orders were made in the Family Court, by consent, to reduce the number of days he had custody access to his three children – Ben, 6, Jack 2, and Darcey.

    Of the custody dispute, Freeman’s relative told the Herald Sun: “It was like he started to feel like he had no control over anything. It frustrated him to no end.”

    On the morning of Darcey’s death, Freeman had spoken to Ms Barnes on the phone and told her to say goodbye to her children.

    “You’ll never see your children again,” he said.

    Chief Crown prosecutor Gavin Silbert, SC, said those threats showed Freeman “knew the nature and quality of what he was about to do”.

    “We are perhaps indeed fortunate that he didn’t throw all three children over the bridge,” Mr Silbert told the jury.

    Darcey’s maternal relatives sat through the entire two-week trial.

    Ms Barnes did not comment as she left the court.

    Freeman’s parents, Peter and Norma, also said nothing as they left the court.

    The Freeman family source said, “They are very emotional at the moment, understandably. They are quite placid people.”

    Arthur Freeman was driving his children back to Melbourne from his parents’ home when he stopped in the emergency lane on the bridge, put his hazard lights on and asked Darcey to move into the front seat.

    He then carried her and threw her over the railing.

    It was supposed to be Darcey’s first day of school. In the car as they were driving away, young Ben told his father: “Go back and get her . . . Darcey can’t swim.”

    In his closing, defence counsel David Brustman, SC, said his client’s “head was simply elsewhere” when he committed the horrific crime.

    Six psychiatrists assessed Freeman. Only one supported his mental impairment defence. He believed Freeman was suffering a “major depressive disorder” and was in a “dissociative state” – like a sleep walker.

    Of the five expert psychiatrists who did not support the defence, one told the jury Darcey’s death fitted a “spousal revenge” classification.

    A pre-sentence plea hearing is expected on Friday and Justice Paul Coghlan plans to sentence Freeman before Easter.


  16. jilla

    Good for the relative. Oh he loved his children. Yah. You know, I’ve yet to see a divorce in a couple with children where the father paid any attention to his children. Because a mohter will generally stay if the relationship between father and children is good (and the one between husband and wife isn’t physically abusive — and sometimes, even then). If she’s in divorce court, he’s being a bastard to the children TOO.


  17. FAB Libber

    The story from the unnamed relative seemed to only come out after the trial (I could be wrong, but I did not read anything about it, only the phone calls to his ex wife).


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  19. FAB Libber

    And here is another, default setting femicide.
    Mother and daughter dead, the four-year-old boy (a relative of the women) was unharmed. A 25yo male has been arrested. I gather he will be the bf of the daughter.

    Bodies of mother and daughter found in Sheffield

    The bodies of a mother and daughter have been found by police at a house in Sheffield.

    Officers made the discovery at an address in Ironside Road in the Gleadless area of the city at 0740 BST.

    A 25-year-old man from Sheffield has been arrested on suspicion of murder and is currently in custody being questioned.

    The women have been named locally as Tracey Donnelly, 42, and her 23-year-old daughter, Louise Donnelly.
    ‘Domestic incident’

    South Yorkshire Police said they would not confirm the women’s identities until post-mortem examinations are conducted on Wednesday.

    A four-year-old boy, a relative of the women, was also led from the property, wrapped in a blanket, by police.

    Officers said they believed it was a domestic incident and the wider public were not in any danger.

    Neighbours said police were called to the three-bedroom town house early on Tuesday.

    One neighbour said she had seen 10 police cars and a forensic van at the scene, while another neighbour said she had been woken by a disturbance in the early hours.

    Specialist officers are sifting through the house searching for evidence.


  20. FAB Libber

    Good sentence – Life sentence, 32 years without parole.

    So he will be 69 before parole is even considered.

    Sentencing Freeman to life in prison with a 32-year non-parole period, supreme court judge Paul Coghlan noted he was “yet to say sorry” and that his attitude had remained self-centred.


  21. FAB Libber

    Or off the Westgate. He would have some time to think about what he had done on the way down. I guarantee he would not do it again.



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