McCarron family supporters, including Katrina Sima (left) leaving Tweed Heads courthouse yesterday afternoon.
McCarron family supporters, including Katrina Sima (left) leaving Tweed Heads courthouse yesterday afternoon. Tweed Daily News/Craig Sadler

Travis' carer on stand

TRAVIS McCarron's carer has claimed had there been a warning sign at the park where he drowned, she would not have taken children there.

On day three of the coronial inquest in to the 21-month-old's death questioning of carer Donna Devenny continued.

Solicitor representing the Tweed Shire Family Day Care Association Gary Gregg questioned Ms Devenny about her qualifications, her knowledge of policy and procedure and of the events of April 11, 2008.

Mr Gregg told the court a warning sign had been erected at the park since Travis' death. He asked Ms Devenny whether the presence of a sign would have influenced her decision to take children there.

She replied that she would not have taken the children to the park had there been a warning sign there.

“I would have gone home,” Ms Devenny said.

The carer has claimed she did not know of the existence of the pond until she found Travis lying face up in its water, and she said a warning sign would have prompted her to look harder.

Questioning also turned to the children's interest in ducks at the park.

On Tuesday, paramedic Michael Young gave evidence that during an ambulance trip to the Tweed Hospital on April 11, a distraught Ms Devenny said Travis had been interested in a duck when the group arrived at the park, and that he pointed at it.

Ms Devenny told the court a duck was on the grassed area near the play equipment when she and the children arrived at the park. It flew away and no children had reacted to the duck, said anything about the duck or chased the duck, Ms Devenny said.

She also described how Travis had disappeared moments after having morning tea.

Her five children had returned to the play equipment after morning tea, but 14-month-old Michaela had become upset and wanted more food. Ms Devenny sat down and fed her some yogurt, and Travis was on the “net” in the play equipment.

Ms Devenny finished feeding Michaela the yogurt.

“That is when I noticed Travis was gone,” she said.

The court also heard about an unspoken understanding that existed between carers when they brought their groups of children together for excursions.

There were 15 children and three carers at the park on the day of Travis' death.

“It was something you did all the time,” Ms Devenny said, referring to joint expeditions between carers.

“We went to the park all the time, we looked after our children, we supervised. I looked after my children and we also watched after everyone.”

Mr Gregg asked if Ms Devenny considered the children in her care to be her immediate responsibility.

“Yes,” Ms Devenny said.

He asked if the carers did take account of their fellow carers' children as well.

“If they fall over, you would assist them,” she said.

Mr Gregg asked, if one of the other carer's children left the play equipment area and went across the grass, would she do something about it?

“Of course ... I would get them back.”

And Ms Devenny said she would expect any other carer to do the same thing.

“We never had a discussion, it was what we did.”

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