Of course, the press fawned over CRAIG ANDREW MERRITT as the "perfect, doting father." In reality, he sounds like a vicious sociopath who cooly suffocated all three children with no "provocation" or "snapping." No mental illness either. Just regrets that he was "not able to see his children as often as he would have liked." My goodness. Don't we all murder our children for unfathomably stupid reasons like that?
Of course, this has become the fathers rights #1 excuse du jour for explaining away/excusing any father's violence. But read carefully, and you'll see this was a total lie. The mothers in question bent over backwards to accommodate the father's "involvement." Doesn't matter, as "alienation" accusations these days don't need any relationship, no matter how weak, to the truth. You might as well be screaming "witch."
Hat tip to Jane.
'Perfect dad' gets life for killing three children
By Lee Glendinning
December 5 2002
Craig Andrew Merritt, a "perfect, doting father", was yesterday sentenced to life in prison for smothering his three children to death on Father's Day.
He is believed to be the first person in Australia jailed for natural life for infanticide.
The 31-year-old, who had no history of mental illness, pleaded guilty to the suffocation murders of six-year-old Jackson Merritt, Taylah Pringle, 11 months and Mikaylah Green, 11 weeks, at their grandmother's Cabramatta home in September last year.
Merritt remained emotionless as the sentence was read out in the NSW Supreme Court yesterday. He slouched in prison greens, his head lowered.
When Justice Greg James said there would be no chance for parole, the packed court room erupted with members of the public gallery screaming, "Rot in hell, you dog" and "Gutless prick".
Merritt was the natural father of the three children, who each had different mothers. He had weekend access to the children, whose mothers thought it would be nice for them to spend Father's Day together with him.
Their bodies were found lying side by side on a bed on September 2 last year. They had been given dinner and were ready for bed, dressed in their pyjamas.
Merritt began drinking bourbon, some evidence suggesting he finished an entire bottle.
Around 1am he sent a mobile phone text message to his then partner saying: "Good buy (sic) from me, my son and my daughters" followed by, "Good bye till next life. I've always loved U and UR sons."
At 8 the next morning he went into Parramatta police station to turn himself in. "I've put my kids to sleep," he told the officer on duty. As to establishing a motive for the killings, however, Merritt insists he cannot recall what he did, saying the last thing he remembers is bathing the children.
He has spoken about his feelings as being a failure as a father, having three children to different mothers.
"I should be more like a normal family and have three children to one mother," he said. "I thought, all I want to do is try and be a good father and - and nothing seems to work."
Psychiatric reports have suggested he suffered "psychogenic amnesia" after the killings, which caused a "genuine inability to recall the crime."
While he was diagnosed with a chronic, fluctuating depressed mood, there is no evidence Merritt suffered from any kind of mental disorder and had amicable relationships with all his former partners.
He had expressed anguish at not being able to see his children as often as he would have liked.
The Crown had submitted that the murders of his children were willed and intentional acts of multiple murder.
But the counsel for Merritt, Peter Zahra, SC, said there was no premeditation or planning and the offences were committed in "one short spontaneous burst of criminality".
Justice James said despite pleading guilty and handing himself in to police, as well as showing remorse, Merritt had committed a crime of the worst class, and deserved life in jail.
Outside court yesterday, the mother of 11-month-old Taylah, Melanie Pringle, said she was surprised at the sentence as she had expected a less hefty jail term.
She said she never denied Merritt access to his daughter, and believes he is sorry, but thinks he remembers what happened but just chooses not to say.
"I came to realise since the day it happened, I'd never know why," she said.
"He seemed like the perfect father, he loved his kids, he doted on his children."