Tears from mum accused of sick hoax
A Malaysian woman charged with blackmail after trolling the parents of a dying girl wiped away tears in court as she was told she will spend the next two-and-a-half months in jail.
Police allege Siti Nurhidayah Kamal, 24, told Melbourne couple Jay and Dee Windcross that she had their mobile phone, which contained priceless photographs of their 11-month old daughter, Amiyah.
She allegedly demanded $1000 during a series of text messages she sent the couple as they spent their last moments with Amiyah in a Melbourne hospital.
Ms Kamal appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court this morning via video link. She wore a long white T-shirt and blue pants.
When told she will be kept in custody until her next appearance on July 8, Ms Kamal looked at the ground before wiping tears from underneath her glasses.
The Malaysian national, who left her two children behind to move to a Springvale sharehouse in September, spoke briefly through an interpreter.
She asked about the next court date and nodded when asked whether she understood what was happening.
Mr and Mrs Windcross were not in court today, nor was the husband of the accused.
According to charge sheets, seen by news.com.au, the alleged blackmail attempt came last Tuesday night after Mr and Mrs Windcross made a public appeal for the return of Mrs Windcross's Samsung Galaxy 8, which she accidentally left inside a Chadstone Shopping Centre toilet over the Easter long weekend.
After pleading with the public for the return of the phone, police allege the couple was approached out of the blue by Ms Kamal.
The couple responded, but later learned Ms Kamal did not have their phone.
Police will allege Ms Kamal initially contacted Mrs Windcross to say sorry for picking up her phone and failing to give it back.
It is alleged Ms Kamal promised to put the phone in the couple's Boronia letterbox but wanted $1000 to be deposited into an account first.
"While trying to spend every emotional minute with Amiyah and giving her all of my attention, I'm also responding to someone claiming to have our phone with all the memories of her," Mrs Windcross wrote on Facebook at the time.
Mr Windcross said the timing of the messages could not have been worse.
"Not only was it a complete and utter waste of my time, it was interrupting my final moments with my dying daughter."
Ms Kamal and her husband have been struggling financially, the Ringwood Magistrates' Court heard yesterday.
Ms Kamal was denied bail on the grounds that she posed a flight risk because her two children are still in Malaysia.
Amiyah died on Wednesday morning from an undiagnosed neurological condition she had been battling since birth.
In an emotional post on Facebook, Mr Windcross wrote that she died peacefully.
"It is with utter sadness that Dee and I inform everyone that Amiyah Victoria grew her wings at 2.05am on Wednesday morning. Amiyah's last hours were spent peacefully and calmly, cuddling in Mummy's and Daddy's arms - which is what she loved most.
"Amiyah battled hard and fought from the day she was born. Her strength, her courage, and her unrelenting fight was on display from her first breath, all the way till her last."
The mobile phone has still not been returned.
Ms Kamal will return to court for a committal hearing on July 8 at 2pm.