Mum accused of killing baby son ‘fragile’, seeking bail

AN Adelaide mother accused of murdering her baby son is seeking release from custody into the care of relatives, a court has heard. Michelle Allison Beal, 40, is alleged to have killed her nine week-old son Robert Maxwell Plew, in their western-suburbs home one morning in December.

Western District detectives charged Beal, a mother of two, almost three weeks after the incident in the family's Woodville home.

Michelle Beal has been charged over the murder of her nine-month-old baby.
Michelle Beal has been charged over the murder of her nine-month-old baby.

On Wednesday, her case came before the Port Adelaide Magistrate Court but she was excused from attending.

The court heard she was seeking bail despite her mental health being "fragile". Prosecutors were "strongly opposed" to any form of bail.

Beal, who was originally detained under the Mental Health Act at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, has yet to plead to one charge each of murder and commit manslaughter.

If convicted she faces life in jail.

Court documents allege she murdered Robert on December 5. Police at the time said they were called to her home just before 8.45am.

They found the infant "unresponsive" but he was pronounced dead at the scene despite paramedics' frantic efforts.

She spent Christmas in custody and the court was told she had transferred to the Royal Adelaide Hospital's psychiatric unit.

Legal aid lawyer Trish Johnson, defending, told the court that a psychiatric report made it "quite clear my client's mental health is fragile".

Magistrate Alfio Grasso ordered its contents remain secret, as releasing it publicly was "premature".

She told the court her proposed bail address was at a relative's home - the location of which cannot be detailed for legal reasons.

No further details, including the circumstances surrounding Robert's death have been aired in court.

No family, including her partner, attended court on Wednesday.

Magistrate Grasso indicated he would consider home detention conditions and ordered a report outlining her suitability.

Neighbours have expressed shock at the case.

The case returns to court next week.

If you are in crisis, contact Lifeline 131 114 or beyondblue 1300 22 4636


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