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- Fiona Garth
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Babysitter Fiona Garth in 'drunken rage' at Liam Osborne, inquest told
A babysitter implicated in the suspicious death of a four-year-old boy three
years ago was a "cold and callous" liar, an inquest has heard.
The inquest heard that Fiona Maree Garth flew into a drug and alcohol-fuelled
rage while babysitting twin boys at her Claremont unit on the night of June 26, 2009, The Mercury reports.
The inquest into Liam Osborne's suspicious death had already heard from witnesses who
accused Garth of killing the killed Liam.
But Garth, 40, provided the boy's grief-stricken parents with no answers yesterday
after reluctantly taking the stand.
But the former babysitter told Coroner Stephen Carey's legal counsel Chris Gunson
she was "not a monster" when he demanded answers over the fresh bruises that covered the child's body.
"I loved those boys," Garth told the packed courtroom.
She admitted slapping Liam a few times on the bottom because he was "showing off
in the bath" and was forced to concede she must have hit him with the egg flip
found in the bathroom which had left an indentation on his buttocks, though she "couldn't recall it".
"I only tapped him," she said.
She said she woke up and found Liam in the bath. She could "not recall" if Liam was already
dead and she did not know why she had not called an ambulance.
Mr Gunson put it to her that the truth was she consumed the equivalent of 19 standard drinks
that night, smoked cannabis and took a sheet of Endone pills -- a powerful morphine-like
pain killer -- then lost control.
He said she kicked and bashed a puppy to death then stashed its body in a bin in the laundry.
Mr Gunson said she also attacked Liam, slapping and hitting him in the head and face when his
bathtime antics enraged her.
She then left him.
"That's lies," Garth said.
Mr Gunson said she was the liar, giving Liam's father Jason Osborne one story on the
morning Liam died then changing it repeatedly over the coming weeks and months.
She said she had lied to Mr Osborne because she was in shock.
"I had no reason to lie to Jason -- Jason is a very nice person," she said.
Coroner Stephen Carey then asked Garth if she recalled kicking a bag of clothes
she found in the unit and saying "these are the little c.... clothes".
She said she did not.
Mr Gunson summed up for the Coroner after Garth's departure from the court to screams of "babykiller".
He told Mr Carey he should reject her "appalling" evidence, describing Garth as a liar "with scant
regard for the law" who had the chance to tell the truth -- under the protection from
prosecution offered by the Coroner's Act -- but rejected it.
While vital evidence had been withheld, he said the Coroner ought to find Garth was involved in Liam's death.
Mr Carey told Liam's parents he hoped the inquest had shown that while nothing
could bring their child back, Liam had not been forgotten.
He will hand down his findings at a later date.
Babysitter pleads guilty to assaulting 4yo
A Tasmanian woman has pleaded guilty to assaulting a four-year-old boy who died in her care.
Fiona Maree Garth assaulted Liam Osborne while she was babysitting him and his twin
brother at her Claremont home last June.
The 37 year old was originally charged with his murder but last month that charge was dropped.
Today she has pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court in Hobart to an indictment that states
she held the child under water, grabbed him by the arms and struck him on his body.
But Garth's lawyer Bruce McTaggart says his client plans to dispute the facts of the indictment
and is only admitting striking Liam Osborne.
Garth was bailed to reappear in court next month.
The Prosecution still will not say why the murder charge was dropped.
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