Kerri-Ann Conley, 30, from Queensland, Australia pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of her daughters Darcey-Helen, aged two-and-a-half, and Chloe-Ann, 18 months, in February and was sentenced to nine years in jail because of ‘gross criminal neglect’.
The toddlers were left in the vehicle for nine hours as temperatures soared past 140F inside.
Now, a shocking new report has uncovered that Conley was known to the Department of Child Safety and had a long history of neglect and drug abuse.
The report revealed how Conley brazenly told child services she used methamphetamine and even refused drug tests.
She is also said to have told them she wanted to swap her unborn child for an iPhone 7 on June 5, 2018.
While another report claimed her elder daughter Darcey-Helen was seen with a bong in her mouth while running around her house on November 6, 2019.
Darcey-Helen was taken to hospital where doctors found she was underweight, pale and suffering from diarrhoea.
Just a week later, on November 13, police were told Conley was using and dealing crystal meth form her home, with her children locked in another room.
Despite the litany of shocking abuses, child services went on to declare Conley ‘a parent willing and able’.
Child safety officers allegedly failed to investigate Conley or her history because of ‘workload demands’, according to the report obtained by 9News.
It also found that serious complaints made about Conley to child safety were not followed up or escalated to investigation status.
Just 10 days after Conley was declared a fit parent, her daughters were found dead.
In February, the court was told Conley deliberately left the two girls in her car as they slept.
She had taken them to a friend’s place at 11:30 pm on November 22, 2019 before returning home at about 4:00 am.
Instead of removing her daughters from their seats, she went inside, dawdled on her phone for a few hours and fell asleep.
Darcy-Helen and Chloe-Ann were left in the vehicle in direct sunlight for hours as temperatures climbed.
The girls’ skin was hot to the touch, covered in burns and blisters and was ‘peeling off’ as paramedics tried to revive them, the court was told.
The court was also told Conley disclosed she smoked the drug ice daily to a covert police officer while in custody.
Supreme Court Justice Peter Applegarth described her as a ‘drug addict’ in court and said the thought of the distressed children being awake and strapped in the hot car as they died was ‘too much to bear’.
‘Your grossly negligent conduct was deciding to leave your vulnerable children uncared for, unheard and unobserved in the dark,’ he said.
Autopsies confirmed the girls died of hyperthermia when the body is heated to more than 104F (not to be confused with hypothermia, which is from excessive cold) but a time of death could not be properly established.
Conley had initially been charged with murder but that was downgraded, with Darcey-Helen’s father Peter Jackson being told murder was ‘too hard to prove’.
If Conley had been convicted of the double murder, under Queensland law she would have served a mandatory non-parole period of 30 years.
Jackson said he could not conceive why Conley had been able to enter a plea to a lesser charge of manslaughter.
‘I still think it should be murder. She should have got the 30 years,’ Jackson told the ABC.
‘I don’t think it’s fair. These were defenceless children.’
Conley will be eligible for parole in November next year, having already served three years in custody.