The Death of Dean Shillingsworth
The body of Dean Shillingsworth (25 February 2005 – 11 October
2007) was discovered by children in a pond in Mandurama Reserve at
Ambarvale, New South Wales, Australia on 17 October 2007. The body
was inside a tartan suitcase and was badly decomposed. Police
subsequently arrested his mother Rachel Pfitzner who lived in nearby
Rosemeadow. She was charged with Dean's murder. Pfitzner allegedly
admitted shaking the boy. She did not seek bail and was remanded in
Pfitzner appeared in court on 12 December 2007 via videolink from
Silverwater Women's Correctional Centre. The case was adjourned without
bail several times to allow police more time to complete their brief of
Pfitzner appeared in court on 28 October 2008. The court was told she had
shaken her son and thrown him to the ground. Believing him to be dead,
she allegedly wrapped him in plastic and placed him in a suitcase. A
forensic psychologist testified that the boy may not have been dead at that
time. Pfitzner was committed to stand trial and did not enter a plea.
In June 2009 Pfitzner pleaded guilty to manslaughter and not guilty to
murder. In August 2009 she changed her plea to guilty of murder. On 9
December 2009 Pfitzner was sentenced to a maximum of 25½ years in jail.
In July 2010 she appealed against the severity of the sentence.
1. Identify the main legal process used to convict the mother of Dean
2. What does remand mean?
3. Explain the terms testify and plea according to the legal process
Kids in cars warning
2007 Media releases
As the summer sun begins to scorch NRMA Motoring & Services warns parents and
carers to be aware of the dangers of children being locked in a car during the
summer heat.NRMA President, Alan Evans said the scorching summer heat was
deadly for children locked in a car.
"The temperature inside a parked car can be 30-40°C hotter than the temperature
outside and leaving the windows partially down is no solution," Mr Evans said.
"On a hot day the temperature inside your car can reach an oven-like 80°C.
"Young children very quickly become distressed, dehydrated and can easily die from
organ failure if left in that environment even for a short time.
"NRMA drops everything to respond to calls where a child is locked in a car because
of the grave dangers involved, especially in summer."NRMA patrol officers rescued
more than 1,900 babies and children in the 12 months to 30 June 2006. Most kids
were accidentally locked in cars by their parents, siblings or through their own
interference with the car locking system.
Mr Evans said children should not be left alone in the car for any reason - even for
small errands like popping quickly into a store to buy some milk.
"There is no safe way to leave your child in the car," Mr Evans said.
Some recent examples
On 23 December 2005 DoCS received a report of a child left sweating and distressed
inside a car in Orange. The child was rescued from the car and received immediate
Two children aged 3 and 9 were discovered in locked in a car in Sutherland last
Christmas Eve. The children spent up to 40 minutes locked in the car in full sun,
while their mother shopped. Temperatures in the area were above 35 degrees and
the younger child was flushed and distressed.
On the same day another two children aged three and five were left locked and
restrained in a vehicle in western Sydney. They were rescued by Police.
Temperature outside Temperature inside a car*
20°C 50 - 60°C
30°C 60 - 70°C
40°C 70 - 80°C
45°C 75 - 85°C
4. Discuss the importance of NRMA’s public announcement
5. Why is it important to have strict laws that protect children
involved in this issue
6. Do you think it is against the law to break into a car if a child
is seen to be under stressed? State the reasons for your
Sex offender impregnated victims,
August 16, 2010
One of the state's worst sex offenders has admitted abusing 18
children over a 25-year period, including an intellectually
disabled seven-year-old girl who he later impregnated.
Dennis Alfred Goudge, 57, formerly of Bendigo, pleaded guilty to
58 sex charges including one count of rape and 28 of indecent
The Victorian County Court heard this morning that Goudge
committed sexual offences against 18 victims, who were aged
between three and 16.
Crown prosecutor Kieran Gilligan said that many of the children
had "continued and frequent exposure" to Goudge and many of
the offences were committed in a backyard shed on his family
farm, 30 kilometres north of Bendigo.
The offending began when Goudge was 17, the court heard.
Mr Gilligan said two of Goudge's victims - including a 14-year-old
girl - bore him children.
"Over a 25-year period of his offending, Goudge continually
placed himself in a position of trust with people who had
children," Mr Gilligan said.
"He was able to lure the children away from their parents under
guises such as listening to music, playing common children's
games, photographic portraiture of children, or providing singing,
music or driving lessons."
Crown prosecutor Angela Ellis said the parents of three of the
victims refused to believe that their children, including two who
were intellectually disabled, had been abused by Goudge.
When their eldest daughter became pregnant to him at 14 in
1985, they told her not to say anything.
The girl, had been abused by Goudge since she was seven
7. Outline the main legal issues involved in this case
8. Explain why adult offenders, found guilty of these crimes should be
handled differently by our courts.
Man charged with online
August 5, 2010
A Sydney man has been charged with online grooming offences
after he communicated with police posing as a teenager.
Sex Crimes Squad detectives arrested the 33-year-old man
shortly before 2pm (AEST) on Thursday at a home in South
Police will allege the man was sexually explicit during several
online communications with police who posed as a 14-year-old
9. Define grooming and explain the reasons for it to be a criminal