Australian jailed for throwing daughter off bridge

April 12, 2011 - 0:0

MELBOURNE (AP) – A man who killed his 4-year-old daughter by throwing her off a bridge in Australia's second-largest city as her horrified brothers watched was sentenced Monday to life in prison.

Arthur Freeman, 37, stood motionless as Victorian Supreme Court Justice Paul Coghlan handed down the punishment, which came despite Freeman's argument that he was mentally ill when he tossed his daughter, Darcey, to her death.
""The throwing of your 4-year-old daughter from a bridge more than 80 meters (260 feet) above the ground could not be more horrible,"" Coghlan said. ""What Darcey's last thoughts might have been does not bear thinking about, and her death must have been a painful and protracted one.""
The judge said Freeman killed his daughter to get revenge on his ex-wife. The day before Darcey's death, a court had reduced Freeman's access to his children.
Freeman was driving Darcey and her two brothers, aged 2 and 6, through Melbourne on Jan. 29, 2009, when he telephoned his former wife, Peta Barnes, and told her to say goodbye to her children.
He then parked his car in the emergency lane of the bridge, coaxed his daughter out of the car and picked her up. Darcey's brothers watched as Freeman carried her to the edge of the bridge and threw her over the side.
Freeman admitted to the killing, but pleaded not guilty by reason of mental impairment, with his attorney arguing during the trial that his client was ""mad — not bad."" A jury last month rejected his defense, and found him guilty of murder.
On Monday, Coghlan sentenced him to life in prison with a non-parole period of 32 years.
""It can only be concluded that you used your daughter in an attempt to hurt your former wife as profoundly as possible,"" the judge said.