5 Aug 2016

Mother who smothered baby while breastfeeding sentenced

1:10 pm on 5 August 2016

A Taranaki woman who smothered her baby when she fell asleep breastfeeding after taking a cocktail of alcohol and drugs has been sentenced to nine months supervision.

The 39-year-old, who has interim name suppression, was found guilty of manslaughter in June after a five-day trial.

She appeared in the High Court in New Plymouth today for sentencing.

The woman's six-week-old daughter died in February last year.

The Crown said the death was tragic and unnecessary, and caused by gross negligence.

It said the woman had been warned about drinking alcohol and taking drugs while caring for children and had ignored that advice.

Her defence argued the death was tragic accident. It said illness and exhaustion were the primary cause of her falling asleep.