A mother who viciously attacked her eight-week-old daughters, leaving one dead and the other with permanent brain damage, has enjoyed a Mother’s Day celebration with her family.
Tina Terlato killed newborn Amanda and assaulted the youngster’s twin sister Alicia so brutally in their suburban Melbourne home on Anzac Day in 2012 that she now has lifelong disabilities.
She pleaded guilty to the downgraded charge of infanticide rather than murder, meaning she never spent a day behind bars, and has since been approved to work with children in a new role with the Essendon cheer club designing AFL banners.
The decision, which came almost exactly nine years to the day of the anniversary of the senseless killing, left the father of her three children Paul Terlato ‘disgusted’.
On Sunday a series of photos showed Terlato with her mother, grandmother and family friends – including a group of children – for a long lunch at the Duke of Edinburgh pub in trendy Brunswick.
Pictured: Tina Terlato after enjoying a two-and-a-half hour Mother’s Day lunch with her family
Pictured: Tina Terlato celebrated Mother’s Day on Sunday at the Duke of Edinburgh pub in the trendy Melbourne suburb of Brunswick
One female relative could be seen clutching a box of flowers for the occasion, while her elderly mother walked alongside with the aid of a walking frame
The child killer cut a casual figure while walking in the busy suburb with her loved ones for Mother’s Day, holding only car keys, Ray Bans and a pricey smart phone.
One female relative could be seen clutching a box of flowers for the occasion, while her elderly mother walked alongside with the aid of a walking frame.
While Terlato relaxed on her weekend trip to the pub, Paul is now a single father-of-two and previously said that nine-year-old Alicia’s disability means he cannot enjoy such luxuries.
‘I’m not one of those people who always handballs kids over to grandparents, or to a carer to have a night out or go to the pub – I can’t do that,’ Paul said.
‘I can’t leave them home and then me enjoy the holiday. We’re a family, we’ve got to do things as a family.’
The vicious assault left Alicia (pictured) with serious injuries and means she will suffer disabilities for life and make almost weekly trips to hospital
Tina Terlato (pictured after a Mother’s Day lunch on Sunday) assaulted the youngsters in 2012
The youngster has cerebral palsy as a result of the injuries inflicted by her mother, which means she will struggle walking and talking for the rest of her life.
After Terlato assaulted the youngsters in 2012, she placed them back in their cots until Paul found them and raised the alarm.
They were both rushed to hospital but Amanda died during surgery, while Alicia suffered a fractured skull, arm, legs and collarbone.
After hearing that his ex had been given clearance to work with children at the Essendon AFL club, Paul – who also looks after the couple’s 11-year-old son – struggled to hide his horror.
‘Every time I see her face when she poses up with AFL players or when I hear about her attending games – it just brings back bad memories,’ he said.
Alicia’s father Paul (pictured with Alicia and his other son, Luke) was told his surviving daughter would likely be confined to a wheelchair for life, but she has ‘defied the odds’
Tina Terlato (pictured) was charged with murder, but instead pleaded guilty to one count of infanticide and another of recklessly causing injury
‘I’m shocked, I’m disgusted, I’m angry. Essendon Football Club and the AFL need to stop her membership and refuse her entry anywhere in Australia.’
Terlato’s new role sees her helping to design and construct the banner players run through before games, a job that often includes child volunteers.
It is not known how someone with the convictions like Terlato was able to obtain a working with children permit, which are only handed to people with no prior offences.
In a letter sent by Essendon to its members over the hiring of Terlato the club said ‘criminal convictions don’t prohibit people from becoming members of the club’.
‘Passing a police, background check is not a requirement. All members of the Bomber Squad are required to pass a working with children check in order to participate in activities like banner making,’ the letter obtained by the Herald Sun says.
When Alicia and her twin sister Amanda “(pictured) were just eight weeks old they were violently attacked by their mother
‘If a member’s status ever changes, then we would act accordingly.’
Paul said someone with Terlato’s criminal record should not be able to work with children, and back calls by Victorian Shadow Attorney-General Edward O’Donohue’s to have the clearance revoked.
In a letter to federal Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes, Mr O’Donohue said national leaders have an ‘obligation to all Victorians to ensure the working with children check regime is working properly’.
Shadow police Minister David Southwick said the justice system has ‘catastrophically failed’ when a convicted child killer is allowed to work with kids.
The twins’ aunt Michelle Terlato has called for the infanticide law to be scrapped in Victoria, and with states including Western Australia doing so in recent years, it is a push that has now received support from victims’ advocates.
Introduced in England in the 1920s, infanticide intended to ensure women who killed their children would not be charged with murder, and therefore sentenced to death.
While her father holds high hopes that the improvements of recent years will go on, regardless of what the future holds he – and her brother – are determined to be by her side every step of the way
Over the years it was subsequently introduced in Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and Western Australia.
After a review by its Law Review Commission, Western Australia repealed it in 2008.
While the age limit for a child victim in Victoria is two years, elsewhere it stands at 12 months.
Infanticide is an applicable charge for mothers found to be of a ‘disturbed’ mind and as such was used in the case of Tina Terlato, due to claims of post-natal depression.
While she understands the intentions of such a law, her former sister-in-law Michelle Terlato believes it has been rendered ‘archaic’ over time and devalues the lives of young children.
Michelle Terlato said something has to be done to stop similarly ‘pathetic’ sentences, such as that handed down to Tina Terlato.
‘We as a family feel that babies lives and children’s lives don’t really count that much,’ she said.
THE TRAGIC ABUSE SUFFERED BY AMANDA AND ALICIA TERLATO AT THE HANDS OF THEIR MOTHER:
– On the evening of April 25, 2012, Tina Terlato brutally assaulted her eight-week-old twin daughters Amanda and Alicia inside their Melbourne home.
– Then she lay them gently back in their cots.
– It was not until a few hours later when their father Paul Terlato went to check on them that the alarm was raised.
Alicia Terlato with her father Paul and older brother Luke
– They were both rushed to hospital but Amanda died during surgery, while Alicia still suffers severe disabilities including cerebral palsy because of the attack.
– Police arrested Tina Terlato and charged her with murder, but that was later downgraded to infanticide. She pleaded guilty and received a community corrections order, meaning she did not have to spend any time in prison.
– In sentencing, Victorian Supreme Court Justice Bernard Bongiorno cited Tina’s mental health issues as a determining factor.
– At the time of the attack, doctors feared Alicia would never walk again.
– Today, Alicia has made incredible steps in her recovery and is now on the verge of running for the first time. She attends a mainstream school and enjoys going to soccer games with her father and older brother, Luke.
– Incredibly, a court ordered that Tina continue to have access to her children, although they live with their father fulltime.
There were fears Alicia would never be able to walk, but she is currently in grade two at a mainstream school in Melbourne and is getting closer each and every day to running
– While her father holds high hopes that the improvements of recent years will go on, he is prepared to be by her side regardless.
– ‘Just like any child you have, I want her to grow up happy and healthy, to get married and have children, to have independence and to work,’ Paul said.
– ‘But if it doesn’t eventuate like that it’s not going to worry me. She can stay with me for the rest of her life. I’m her father and nothing is going to change that.’