A TASMANIAN couple who let their elderly mother freeze to death by housing her in a shipping container have walked free from court.
Michael and Jassy Anglin admitted in February to killing 77-year-old Janet Mackozdi by culpable negligence in July 2010.
The pair were yesterday sentenced to a wholly suspended two-year jail term in the Supreme Court of Tasmania in Hobart.
Justice Shan Tennent said the pair had made an ‘‘exceptionally bad decision’’.
‘‘Anybody would have known of the potential serious consequences of putting Mrs Mackozdi in the shipping container on that particular night,’’ Justice Tennent said.
‘‘She was unable to fend for herself or even have the ability to remove herself from the environment for many hours,’’ she said.
Justice Tennent said despite the negligence, a term of actual imprisonment was ‘‘not an appropriate outcome’’.
Ms Mackozdi, Jassy Anglin’s mother, was living with the couple and their children at a newly bought, rundown Derwent Valley property after her health had rapidly declined.
The court had heard Mrs Mackozdi, who had recently shown cold and flu symptoms, was moved outside to a shipping container after piles of boxes brought to the property left her nowhere to sleep.
She stayed inside the container with two of her grandchildren, where overnight temperatures dropped below zero.
Mrs Mackozdi died from hypothermia.
Michael Anglin discovered her body about 9.30am and alerted his wife.
Instead of calling an ambulance, Jassy Anglin bathed and dressed her mother in warm clothes and drove her to a nearby hospital.
The couple told nurses Mrs Mackozdi had died during a family outing.
When police found inconsistencies with the story, Jassy Anglin told them what had happened.
Justice Tennent said she accepted the Anglins’ guilty plea ‘‘held real value’’, and the family suffered ongoing distress.