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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Woman who attempted to suffocate dad in aged care facility sentenced

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A Brisbane woman has been jailed for at least 10 months after admitting a lapse of judgment when she tried to suffocate her brain-injured father.

Rebecca Louise Burden was visiting 68-year-old Steven Burden for the first time she was permitted after COVID-19 restrictions lifted at his aged care home when she says he asked her to kill him.

After forcefully pushing a cushion on his face for around 30 seconds — until he kicked his legs — she told a nurse what she had done, Brisbane Supreme Court heard earlier this month.

Mr Burden, who also has severe dementia, survived but did not remember his daughter’s visit to his nursing home at Sandgate, north of Brisbane, on September 26, 2020.

It was only from Burden’s account that police were able to charge her with attempted murder, which she pleaded guilty to.

Burden, 47, said her father was on his bed begging her to get him out of the home.

When she told him she wasn’t allowed to, he responded: “Please just kill me. I don’t want to be here anymore.”

At the time she wanted to end her father’s suffering because he was always so sad, she told police.

Defence barrister Charlotte Smith said Burden, who has no criminal history, had “quite tragic” personal circumstances and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mr Burden’s brain injury occurred in a car crash when he was driving to his daughter on the one-year anniversary of the loss of her twins.

Burden told the court she took full responsibility for her actions, sincerely regretted what transpired and understood the gravity of the charge.

She read a statement to the court saying she loved her father implicitly, describing him as her best friend.

She was excited to see her dad “on that fateful day” for the first time in six months.

“During that time together there was a lapse of judgment on my part and it cost me dearly,” she added, saying she had not been allowed to see him since.

Justice Soraya Ryan on Friday sentenced Burden to five years’ imprisonment, with a parole eligibility date of May 22, 2023.

Lifeline 13 11 14

beyondblue 1300 22 4636

AAP

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