Judge hands down life sentence for WA mum who shook baby to death


Mr Hand found Anastasia unresponsive in her cot, and she was later pronounced dead at Princess Margaret Hospital. It was later revealed hospital records and accounts from other family members suggested Anastasia had been subject to ongoing abuse.

In sentencing, Justice Anthony Derrick said the fact Anastasia had died at the hands of her mother was a case of the young woman “failing terribly” to comply with her duty of care.

Justice Derrick said one of the most concerning factors in Doohan’s sentencing was the way she had notified her fiancée of Anastasia’s injuries.

The court heard when Mr Hand returned from his shower and finished getting dressed, Doohan asked him to hand her the baby saying: “Daddy, where’s bubba? I want to give her a mummy kiss.”

He said by Doohan feigning ignorance, it stopped the “totally vulnerable” Anastasia from receiving immediate care and showed a lack of empathy for the four-month-old.

Anastasia Hand.

Anastasia Hand.

The court also heard victim impact statements from Mr Hand’s parents, who said the baby girl’s death had a profound impact on their son – to the point where he had experienced depressive attitudes and attempted to take his own life.

In the statement, Mr Hand said his son had thought himself responsible for Anastasia’s death, thinking she had drowned from milk as a result of him not burping her after he laid her down.

The court also heard at one point during her police interview, Doohan had raised her partner’s name as a possible suspect over Anastasia’s death.

In a further aggravating factor, Justice Derrick said Doohan had been subject to three prior court dates before she changed her plea to guilty.

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Justice Derrick also acknowledged a number of mitigating factors, including the fact that Doohan had been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder and therefore could not indicate remorse over Anastasia’s death.

He said she was largely not responsible for her personality traits and it was clear she had not intended to kill Anastasia, despite previous violent offending against her.

Mr Hand’s family cried in the courtroom as Justice Derrick said the causal link between Doohan’s immaturity, impulsivity, her ADHD and personality disorders, and the offence, meant her culpability was reduced.

However, reports also submitted to the court found Doohan was a compulsive liar, could be manipulative and had a grandiose sense of her own self-importance.

Justice Derrick sentenced Doohan to life imprisonment with a minimum period of 13 years.

“This is a terribly tragic case and no sentence I impose can undo the damage you have done,” he said.

“Any sentence I impose cannot be seen in any way a measure of value of Anastasia’s life.”

Doohan’s sentence was backdated to June 27, 2017.

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