Mum who placed three-month-old daughter on train tracks to die had ‘significantly disturbed mind' – court hears

Melissa Arbuckle, 32, appeared in Victoria’s Supreme Court in Melbourne on Tuesday after pleading guilty to one count of infanticide

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A mum placed her three-month-old daughter on the tracks to die, a court has heard.

Melissa Arbuckle, 32, appeared in Victoria’s Supreme Court in Melbourne on Tuesday after pleading guilty to one count of infanticide.

Arbuckle’s lawyer, Megan Tittensor, told the court that she was suffering from a “significantly disturbed mind” when she put the toddler on the tracks.

The lawyer added that the 32-year-old was intending to kill herself after the death of her baby.

Crown prosecutor, Robyn Harper, said Arbuckle texted her ex-husband on the day of the incident to say their daughter Lily was “losing it after a feed”.

She then decided to go on a walk with her daughter near the train tracks at Upwey in east Melbourne, before using her daughter's hand to wave at the train, Ms Harper said.

Melbourne
Melbourne
Parliament House, Melbourne
Parliament House, Melbourne

At the beginning of the walk, the mum also researched information about trains, the speed at which they travel at and derailments.

The train driver noticed Arbuckle moving towards the track in a “suspicious” way, before activating the emergency brakes.

The driver explained how he “closed his eyes” when he knew he was going to hit Arbuckle and the toddler.

Lily was rushed to hospital but died a short time later from traumatic head injuries.

Arbuckle was said to be "really down" in the weeks leading up to the incident after believing her daughter at shaken baby syndrome, the court was told.

In court, Ms Tittensor said: "She had a fixed delusional belief she had harmed her child and they were both broken.

“She had a perfectionist personality and need for control … she wanted to be the perfect mother.

“She had come to believe dying was her only option. She would hear voices telling her she was a bad mother."

Arbuckle’s estranged husband and Lily's daughter described the moment police told him the news.

He said: “It is hard to describe just how painful that was. My dear little girl was gone. She deserved so much more. I was stuck with this feeling of helplessness.”