Two charged with manslaughter appear in Cairns Magistrates Court
Two charged with manslaughter appear in Cairns Magistrates Court

‘My life is over’: Daycare bus death triple-0 call

A QUEENSLAND court has heard shocking details of how police allege a three-year-old boy was left to die on a hot bus last Tuesday.

The driver of the bus, Michael Glenn Lewis a 45-year-old Bentley Park man, and a 34-year-old female from Manunda, Dionne Batrice Grills, who was also on the bus, have both been charged with one count each of manslaughter.

 

Members of the public have laid flowers and left teddies at the Goodstart Early Learning Centre, Edmonton, following the tragic death of a boy, 3, left in a minibus. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Members of the public have laid flowers and left teddies at the Goodstart Early Learning Centre, Edmonton, following the tragic death of a boy, 3, left in a minibus. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

 

The boy's body was discovered in the bus operated by Goodstart Early Learning centre on Stokes Street, Edmonton around 3.15pm last Tuesday.

Police allege the boy was picked up that morning at 9.15am - six hours before the horrifying discovery - and was left unattended inside the vehicle over that time.

On that day, the temperature in Cairns had soared as high as 36C.

A police forensic officer inspects the van where the boy’s body was found. Picture: Brendan Radke
A police forensic officer inspects the van where the boy’s body was found. Picture: Brendan Radke

Following the discovery of the boy, daycare centre manager Lewis told a triple-O call: "Oh my God, this kid is dead", Cairns Magistrate's Court heard.

"I've left a child on the bus all day.

"So sorry buddy.

"Oh my God I'm going to jail. Oh my God my whole life is over."

Police Prosecutor Senior Sergeant Maynard Marcum today told the court the alleged details of how a three-year-old boy was left to die on the hot bus.

It was also alleged Mr Lewis who was manager of the Goodstart Early Learning Centre at Edmonton had been "fraudulently" obtaining taxpayer-funded benefits for children on days when they were absent.

 

Dionne Batrice Grills has been charged with manslaughter in relation to the death of a three-year-old boy on a daycare minibus in Cairns.
Dionne Batrice Grills has been charged with manslaughter in relation to the death of a three-year-old boy on a daycare minibus in Cairns.

 

"It was a critical failing based on fraud, on fraudulent behaviour," Snr Sgt Marcum said.

"This is an exceptionally strong case of the manslaughter of a deceased child."

The court heard the boy had allegedly been fraudulently signed in by Lewis and Grills on the daycare centre's electronic system at 7.35am last Tuesday.

But he was not collected until 9.15am and CCTV shows the bus arrive at the centre at 9.33am.

"But the defendant and co-accused failed to remove the boy from the bus," Snr Sgt Marcum said.

"In a short trip it was forgotten that the three-and-a-half year old deceased child was strapped into a seat in the bus."

Grills was granted bail with non-contact provisions. Her case is set to return to court on March 18.

 

More to come