Mother braves pain in public
KIRSTY McCarron bravely stepped out to attend the inquest into her son Travis' death yesterday, despite having rarely left her house since the tragic drowning a year ago.
Mrs McCarron's family members have told the Tweed Daily News the toddler's death hit his mother so hard that she has since found it difficult to leave her home.
But yesterday Mrs McCarron, who was present for the opening of the inquest but hadn't attended since, appeared composed as she faced the public and had even brought her new baby to court with her.
Mrs McCarron cuddled four-week-old Joey, who is already sporting a full head of black hair, throughout yesterday's proceedings at Tweed Heads Coroner's Court while smiling relatives looked on.
McCarron family members and supporters have packed the court's public gallery all week, bravely listening to the details surrounding 21-month-old Travis' death.
The toddler drowned in a pond at Russell Way Park in Tweed Heads South on April 11, 2008, during a day care excursion.
Close friend Katrina Sims said Mrs McCarron had not attended the inquest on the previous two days because she hadn't wanted to see the carers looking after Travis at the time of his death.
Mrs McCarron appeared calm and composed as witnesses took the stand yesterday.
Travis' father Ricky McCarron was not present at the inquest.
But the boy's sister Tameeka Green, 11, and his grandparents Dean and Jenny Travis and Veronese Burgess attended the court.
Mrs McCarron's sister Sara was also present, as were Mr McCarron's sisters.
Both Travis' grandmothers have handbags with images of Travis printed on them, which were gifts to them from the McCarrons.
Each family member and supporter of the McCarrons wore butterfly pins to court in honour of Travis.
Kirsty also got 'Travis' dolls made up for Tameeka and Joey.
“The dolls' clothes are made from Travis' clothes,” Ms Sims said. “They picked his favourite outfits and sent them away to be made. It is something for them to hold so they remember Travis.
“Tameeka won't go anywhere without hers.”
During day four of the inquest, evidence was heard from Roslyn Alcorn, who told the court a risk assessment tool would've helped carers conduct evaluations of excursion sites.
Ms Alcorn was the acting supervisor of the Tweed Shire Family Day Care Association at the time when Travis drowned.
She said while safety audits were regularly conducted at carers' homes, no such audits were carried out on excursion venues.
Ms Alcorn told the court that on the day Travis died she had been “shocked” when she saw the wet pants of carer Donna Devenny - who pulled Travis unconscious from the pond.
She then told Ms Devenny she should never have taken the kids to the Russell Way Park.
“A child can drown in a puddle of water,” Ms Alcorn said. “That (the wet pants) indicated to me that the water was deep. That shocked me.”
When asked whether Ms Alcorn believed the children should have been anywhere near that water, she answered: “No”.
Carer Raelene Phillips also took the stand yesterday and said she'd had concerns about the Russell Way Park prior to Travis' death.
But she said she never thought the pond, located about 70m from the playground, had water in it when she looked at the park on a previous occasion.
Mrs Phillips said she had assessed things like the height and strength of the playground equipment, but deemed any water she could see as being “too far away” to be considered a hazard.
The inquest, heard by deputy state coroner Paul McMahon, was due to conclude today but is now expected to be adjourned to a later date.