Toddler who was starved by vegan parents had no teeth and weighed just 4.9kg

The judge has slammed their parenting

May 09 2019

A judge has slammed the father of a Sydney couple who starved their 20-month-old baby daughter with a vegan diet, leaving her malnourished and suffering rickets. 

Judge Sarah Huggett refused to believe that the little girls dad was “powerless” in preventing his daughter from falling ill.

The solicitor for the toddler’s father said his client worked and would do all the driving, shopping, cooking and cleaning, but the household was dictated by the child's mother. 

Judge Huggett hit out at the defence, saying the father is an “educated man” who should have known something was wrong.

“She wasn’t walking or talking, she wasn’t hitting milestones” she said.

“He did nothing. He could have picked her up and taken her to a doctor.

“He is older than the mother and could have just as easily have done something.

“I do not accept that he was powerless.”


Downing Centre Court

Downing Centre Court


The Downing Centre Court in Sydney heard a powerful victim impact statement from the baby’s foster carer, who took the toddler in after she had been taken out of her parents’ care.

She said the 20-month-old weighed just 4.89kg, looked like a three-month-old and had no teeth when she started caring for her in August 2018.

“I remember thinking, ‘how terrifying’,” she said in the statement.

She said the baby was “so behind other children” and couldn’t perform basic actions like rolling over.

She said the baby is now “traumatised” by the monthly and bimonthly blood tests she has to have.

“She begins to scream and cry if she goes into a medical room and the door is closed,” she said in the statement.

She said the baby’s weight had become disproportionate to her height, meaning she had become “technically obese”.

She said strangers ask how old she is upon seeing her because they would be “struck” by she how small she was.

Police allege the father, 34 and mother, 32, — who cannot be named for legal reasons — fed their 20-month-old girl a strict diet “severely lacking in nutrients for her to thrive”.

Court documents show the toddler’s mother told authorities her daughter would eat one cup of oats with rice milk and half a banana in the morning, and a piece of toast with jam or peanut butter for lunch.

For dinner, she said her daughter would be offered tofu, rice or potatoes. But she said the girl was a “fussy eater” so she might just have oats again.

This diet resulted in severe deficiencies in nutrients across the board for the infant, including a lack of calcium, phosphate, vitamin B12, vitamin A, iron and zinc.

Her levels of vitamin D — which can cause bone disease if found to be too low — were “undetectable”.

The girl’s condition was only brought to the attention of doctors in March last year, when doctors attended to the infant after she suffered a seizure.

The little girl and her two older brothers, aged six and four, are all now in care living in Queensland. 



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