A former Kenyan news presenter has pleaded guilty to trying to cover up the manslaughter of her three-year-old son north of Brisbane in 2014, reports ABC News.
The Supreme Court in Brisbane heard Esther Timberlake made several attempts to divert attention away from her husband, Quincy Timberlake, during the police investigation into her son’s death.
Prosecutor Danny Boyle said Mr Timberlake “was always a person of interest and her conduct delayed the detection and apprehension of him”.
He said an autopsy revealed three-and-a-half-year-old Sinclair’s fatal injuries were “not accidental”.
Mr Boyle said police believed the boy’s severe abdominal injuries were consistent with “punching or stamping or similar”.
During her sentencing, the court heard Ms Timberlake made the initial triple-zero call in June 2014, claiming her son had fallen down the stairs.
Mr Boyle said paramedics were greeted with a grim scene when they discovered Sinclair’s body.
“He was dead and had been for some time,” Mr Boyle said.
He said that in subsequent interviews with police Ms Timberlake “alleged that her parents had beaten and tried to kill Sinclair”.
Mr Boyle told the court it was not until 26 days after her son’s death that Esther Timberlake told police what really happened in the family’s Kallangur unit.
He said she told police her husband grabbed the Bible and said: “there’s a devil in his stomach I had to get it out”.
Ms Timberlake told police her husband “was sitting on my son, he was sitting on his stomach”.
The court was told Mr Timberlake then threw the boy against the wall, saying: “there were demons in his stomach”.
Justice Martin Burns told the court there were no allegations Ms Timberlake was involved in harming her son.
“She’s only to be sentenced for her conduct in misleading police,” Justice Burns said.
TV presenter and law graduate
The court heard she told police: “I’ve lost Sinclair … I was just terrified … my husband was begging me not to talk”.
Reading from the police transcript, Mr Boyle told the court Ms Timberlake said she was “hoping against hope that maybe he [Sinclair] died of something else, but I knew in my heart of hearts he [her husband] hit him so hard until he died.”
The 38-year-old mother has a law degree and had previously achieved fame as a TV and radio presenter in Kenya.
“She’s not naive to legal processes or the gravity of what she was doing,” Mr Boyle said.
“She was the only eyewitness in what could be described as the brutal killing of her son.”
Ms Timberlake’s legal team told the court she had made a “voluntary correction” to police and her deception was due to “cultural factors” and attempts to protect her husband’s mental health.