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'Desperate' mother on suspended sentence

AT COURT: Michael Kenneth Winning and the mother of a two-year-old girl abducted from Willowbank have been given suspended jail terms.
AT COURT: Michael Kenneth Winning and the mother of a two-year-old girl abducted from Willowbank have been given suspended jail terms. David Nielsen

A "DESPERATE mother" who masterminded a brazen home invasion to get her two-year-old daughter back has been given a suspended prison term.

In May the 21-year-old mother, who cannot be named to protect the child's identity, found out her former partner was living in the Willowbank area with their child.

She enlisted the support of two men, 42-year-old Michael Kenneth Winning and a third man who has not appeared in court, for protection during the bid to retrieve the child.

Yesterday the mother and Winning walked out of Ipswich Magistrates Court with suspended sentences after pleading guilty to burglary with intent.

The court was told the three drove around Willowbank until they spotted the father's car and entered the house.

Once inside, Winning restrained the father while the mother found her daughter and took her.

Before they fled with the child, Winning apologized to the father and the third man slammed the door in the father's face, injuring him.

The court heard the next day the group heard about their actions on the radio and discovered what defence lawyer Tim Clements described as a "media frenzy".

They called a lawyer in South Australia who told them to find a Queensland lawyer and surrender themselves to police on Monday morning. However, they were arrested before they had the chance.

The court heard the mother met the men through family members after asking if they knew anyone who could help her get her child back and provide "security".

The mother and the father of the child had been in a relationship for some time before the father left with their daughter and sent her a Facebook message saying she'd "never see her daughter again".

Mr Clements said the woman was a "desperate mother who took desperate actions"; mistakenly thinking she had already exhausted all legal options.

The mother spent 40 days in custody for the charges before being released on Supreme Court bail while Winning was released on bail following the offence.

Winning was sentenced to six months jail, wholly suspended. The 40 days the mother served were taken into account and she was sentenced to eight months prison, wholly suspended for two years.

Topics:  burglary, home invasion, ipswich magistrates court



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