A two-month-old baby suffered a hypoxic brain injury and fractures to her ribs consistent with multiple separate instances of trauma prior to her death, a coronial inquest has been told.
Baby Charlotte Lukendlay died four days after the incident, which occurred in a house on Camira Street, Newnham, on February 21, 2016.
An inquest is being held in Launceston to examine the circumstances of her death, including hearing evidence of the alleged family violence perpetrated by her father, Gaurav Endlay.
Counsel assisting, Rebecca Lancaster, told the court Charlotte’s injuries were “non-accidental” and the court “could expect she died of homicide”.
Charlotte’s mother, Rongrong (Angel) Lu, called triple zero at 7.35pm on the night of the incident after the baby became unresponsive. Charlotte had been alone with Mr Endlay in a bedroom for about 40 minutes prior, according to a conversation Ms Lu later had with a social worker.
Their neighbour attempted CPR, and noticed bloody mucus on the upper chest area of Charlotte’s clothing.
Paramedic David Grant told the court he noticed a thumb print-sized bruise on Charlotte’s cheek and dry blood in her nose. Blood stains were found in tubing used to extract secretions from her airway.
Charlotte was flown to the Royal Hobart Hospital where a preliminary doctors examination found fractured ribs at various stages of healing, a fractured ankle and a hypoxic brain injury. She died on February 25.
Police arrested Mr Endlay after he was ordered back to the hospital while driving to Launceston. The indictment was dropped six months later after police could not determine if Mr Endlay or Ms Lu inflicted the injuries.
Mr Endlay was charged with three counts of assault as a result of police interviews – two against Charlotte for allegedly pinching her ears and pinching her cheeks, and one for allegedly punching Ms Lu’s face and holding her to the ground by her throat.
The court was told Mr Endlay would take Charlotte into bedrooms and refuse to allow Ms Lu inside, allegedly wrapping the baby tightly and placing her face down.
Family violence social worker Heather Malerbi had almost-daily conversations with Ms Lu after the death of Charlotte, in which she detailed Mr Endlay's behaviour towards the baby.
They included allegations that Mr Endlay called Charlotte "dirty thing" in his native language instead of using her name, he would throw and catch the newborn baby, he would threaten to kill Charlotte and would not support her head or back.
Ms Malerbi said her conversations with Ms Lu also covered alleged worsening family violence during 2015 and early 2016.
"Mr Endlay had determined who Angel was permitted to speak with," she said.
"She spoke about a number of occasions where she had been strangled, she had been hit.
"The experience of family violence increased when she got pregnant."
While living in the Northern Territory, Mr Endlay allegedly held a knife to the throat of Ms Lu but the charge did not proceed to court.
RHH social worker Gretchen Scott said Mr Endlay would "use Charlotte as a means of threat or intimidation".
The inquest before Coroner Olivia McTaggart continues.