Killer Australian mum who tried to swap kids for iPhone deemed fit to keep custody of children days before their death

  • 17/03/2023

A report has emerged revealing child services deemed a mother with a history of rampant drug use and neglect fit to keep custody of her children days before she left them to die in a hot car.

Kerri-Ann Conley was sentenced last month to nine years imprisonment for two counts of manslaughter after she negligently left her two young daughters to die in a hot car.

Darcey-Helen, 2, and Chloe-Ann, 18 months, died on November 23, 2019 in Brisbane after they were left in a hot car for around nine hours. 

Temperatures reached a high of 37.5 degrees that day and the car was left in direct sunlight with no shade and all windows shut, leading to the car reaching an estimated temperature of 61.5 degrees by 10.30am. 

"Their skin was blistered, they were dehydrated. One can only hope they succumbed early in the morning," Justice Peter Applegarth told the court.

Darcey-Helen and Chloe-Ann.
Darcey-Helen and Chloe-Ann. Photo credit: 7 News / Supplied

A report recently obtained by 9News detailed worrying behaviour presented by Conley just 10 days before the children's deaths.

The report stated back in 2018, Conley told child safety she wanted to swap her unborn child, Chloe-Ann, for an iPhone and later that year she also told child safety she had been using methamphetamine. 

It also found three weeks before her death, Darcy-Helen was seen running around with her mother's bong in her mouth. The toddler was taken to the hospital where she was found to be  underweight, pale and suffering from diarrhoea.

A week later on November 13, 2019, police received a report Conley was selling and using meth while her children were locked in another room.

However, despite the warning signs, Conley was deemed to be a "willing and able" parent.

The report said child safety officers did not further look into Conley's case due to "workload demands".