Mum's 'snap' decision led to death of elderly man

A TOOWOOMBA woman has told a psychologist she feared for her daughter's innocence when she "snapped" and threw hot water on a 70-year-old man who subsequently died from treatment complications.

Peggy Louise Wyborn, 32, claimed a man had offered to "buy her things in return for sexual favours" when she was a young girl, so she allegedly held concerns when Neil McCarthy encouraged her six-year-old daughter to sit on his lap.

Her former husband had argued she was overreacting because of her childhood, but Wyborn alleged Mr McCarthy had commented on her daughter's underwear hanging on a clothesline the day she attacked him.

The Crown submitted there was then "a deliberate use of very hot water on an unsuspecting and intoxicated victim of advanced age resulting in not only a life-threatening injury but subsequent death".

The mother of four's admissions to the psychologist appear to be the first time she has alleged any motivation for her actions in 2009.

Wyborn was convicted of manslaughter after a trial in Toowoomba in March and the Crown asked Brisbane Supreme Court on Tuesday to consider a sentence of eight to nine years jail.

Justice Anthe Philippides said the Crown could not prove Wyborn went to get hot water; that she could have had the hot water in her hand ready to make a cup of tea.

She said there was no proof the man's burns were anything other than a spontaneous act, even considering Wyborn's version to a psychologist was four years after the event.

Wyborn must serve three years of 7.5-year jail sentence.

She has already served 173 days and will be eligible for parole on January 23, 2016.

The hot water burned Mr McCarthy's face and airways, resulting in life-threatening injuries requiring hospitalisation.

Medical treatment included immobilisation which led to deep vein thrombosis in his legs.

Blood clots dislodged and moved to his heart and lungs, leading to his death.

Mr McCarthy and Wyborn had been drinking partners and friends - he would mow her lawns and she would cook him meals.

Crown prosecutor Dennis Kinsella submitted Wyborn's actions after throwing the hot water - including giving a fake name and address - had placed Mr McCarthy at greater risk of peril.

But he accepted her extremely low intelligence level, combined with the perceptions she developed through her troubled childhood, led to lowered comprehension of potential consequences.

Defence barrister Steve Kissick said there was no pre-meditation or plan behind his client's actions.

"It was a snap, a reaction ... without any thought to the consequences," he said.

"She deeply regrets what occurred."

The court heard Wyborn had twice suffered post-natal depression, had contemplated suicide and undergone electric shock therapy.

But she was not diagnosed as suffering these problems at the time of this offence.



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