Mother charged with murder over Murray River drowning

A NSW mother accused of trying to drown her two sons in the Murray River has now been charged with murder as well as attempted murder.

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The 27-year-old was last week charged with attempted murder after she allegedly took her two sons, aged five and nine, to the river on Thursday evening and tried to hold both boys underwater. The nine-year-old boy wriggled free.

A body believed to belong to the five-year-old was recovered on Saturday, and his older brother remains in a stable condition in the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne after suffering bites from a dog that intervened.

The mother’s matter was heard briefly in Deniliquin Local Court again on Monday morning and she was additionally charged with murder.

A psychiatric report has been requested, and the woman is due back in court in Deniliquin on May 2. 

The boys’ heartbroken grandmother has accused child protection services of “miserably” failing the family.

The grandmother, through her lawyer, has said she holds police and corrective services responsible because the daughter was essentially “off-loaded” on her after being released from prison.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said agencies will urgently look into the family circumstances and make sure “any response is appropriate”.

She said there would be a thorough investigation into what she called “a human tragedy of the highest proportion”.

The dog involved in the incident was taken by the local council under a police order last week and its owners have started an online petition demanding its return.

The pitbull cross, named Buddy, had no history of biting anyone before the incident, the petition said.

“He has clearly seen a child in distress and attempted to help.”

A police spokeswoman on Monday said police no longer required the animal.

The Murray River Council is yet to comment on the matter.