.

Chloe Valentine
- January 2012
Find A Grave Memorial

Just how many forms of child abuse are out there? It's amazing to me when I read stories like the one I read today about Chloe Valentine who died when her parents forced her to keep riding a motorcycle, she was only four years old. Families SA had received at least 100 complaints about this child before she died. Why wasn't anything ever done to help her?

Of course now that ANOTHER child has died, there will be an investigation in to "what went wrong", "where did we make mistakes", "what could we have done differently", I CAN'T be the only person who is tired of reading that over and over again and noticing that NOTHING ever changes!

Reports said that Chloe was terrified when she was put on the motorcycle that would eventually cause her death. I watched a video of Chloe falling off of a motorcycle only to get back on, and fall off again, over and over. I didn't see her being forced or looking scared, just falling off over and over and getting back on, with her father there coaxing her to do it, while her mother took video. At one point Chloe does run over what looks like some bricks around the clothesline and she can be heard crying for a split second before her mother stops the camera,  but I didn't see the entire video and apparently there was much more.

The motorcycle that Chloe had been riding weighed over 50 kg and she only weight 17 kg, making it impossible for her to hold up the bike let alone reach the ground with her feet while riding it or trying to stop and get off. The short video I saw didn't show how Benjamin was forcing her to get on the bike, almost throwing her on.

Tricia Foord, a family member had stated that there had been almost 200 complaints filed to Families SA, dating back to when Ashlee was pregnant with Chloe, Ashlee was 16 years old at that time:

"She was living a transient life, drugs, alcohol. I do know that Families SA got involved a little
but, but never enough. Remove that child, that's all we wanted, plenty of family wanted to take
that child and put her in a safe place. That didn't happen"

Reports said that Benjamin had, at times, washed Chloe's mouth out with soap and had installed a camera in her room to scare her into doing what he wanted her to do. Tricia told of how things were really bad for Chloe saying that she wasn't given formula and instead was given boiled water and that she was, at times, left alone in her pram while Ashlee went shopping:

"We lived it, we saw it, we hared stuff. A lot of people were involved. That child should
have been removed"

Mr. David Waterford, who was a child safety and child development Deputy Chief Executive said Social Workers had been to the home many times in 2011 after reports came in that Chloe was being neglected. At that time, the Social Worker didn't feel the evidence showed that Chloe was in danger:

"What we observed was that things were very positive"

David Waterford said that they did not have the authority to remove a child without a court order:

"At no point was there sufficient evidence for us to go before a court and say that this child
should be not under the care of a parent and should be brought under the supervision of
the department"

David added that the department had not had contact with Ashlee since August of 2011 when she had told them she was no longer involved with Benjamin. What was observed was that Benjamin, Ashlee's boyfriend, was not in the home and the house was clean and in good condition and everything seemed fine.

The final time the Department was contacted was in January of 2012 when they were told that Chloe had been taken to the hospital. Chloe had crashed into a lemon tree in the backyard of her home at an estimated speed of 40 kh/h, on January 17, 2012. Ashlee said she saw bruising on her daughter that night and the next morning and that Chloe had been having trouble sleeping, she was complaining about having pain. Benjamin and Ashlee didn't try to get her any medical attention until the night of the 19th when she stopped breathing. When ambulance drivers got to the home they found Chloe with swollen, black eyes, a cut on her head and bruises all over her body.

In court, Impact statements made by family said that Benjamin thought the visits by Families SA were a big joke and they were easily fooled. Justice Trish Kelly sentenced Ashlee Lee Polkinghorne, who was 22 years old at the time and Benjamin Robert McPartland, who was 28 years old at the time, were each sentenced to prison terms with a non parole period of four years. Ashlee was given eight years in prison and Benjamin was given seven years in prison.

"Chloe was not enthusiastic to get back on the bike as you, Mr. McPartland, claimed. You
said she wanted to ride that bike. Chloe was frightened of you and that explains why this
four year old child got back on that bike again and again. This was no one off incident
caused by a young man who didn't know any better. You simply did not care"
Supreme Court Justice - Trish Kelly

Justice Trish Kelly noted that each of the defendants had given different stories about what had happened that day and that each of them were blaming the other adding that as the mother of Chloe, Ashlee should have been the one who was nurturing and caring. Noting that they had waited over eight hours to get Chloe help even AFTER she went unconscious, Justice Kelly said:

"You were prepared to allow your child to die, rather than exercise any parental responsibility.
Unfortunately for Chloe Valentine,  your home was a dangerous place"

In court, Justice Kelly was told that Benjamin and Ashlee left the hospital after Chloe was taken off of life support, but before she died and she told Ashlee that she was  manipulative and narcissistic and that any children she had would be in danger if she didn't get help immediately.

Chloe's supporters wore yellow ribbons for her, in court and there was an eruption of applause after the couple was sentenced and one person yelled out:

 "Now you know how Chloe Felt"



Trish Foord said that the couple had never taken responsibility for what they did:

"They didn't look remorseful to me, not one bit. I thought the time they got was appropriate.
She was a little four year old girl. She did nothing wrong"

Trish, the sentence was NOT appropriate, they deserve to die in prison for what they did to this little Angel.

In May of 2014, Ashlee was not present for a court hearing to appeal the sentences she and Benjamin had received for what happened to Chloe. Director Of Public Prosecutions, Adam Kimber,  was appealing the sentence saying it wasn't enough time. There had been a public outcry as well and people were saying they were shocked at such an inadequate sentence.

Ashlee's Lawyer, Brian Deegan, apologized for her absence saying:

"She has advised my junior that she does not wish to appear in court as she is still suffering
psychologically from the trauma associated with all of this and she just does not want to
appear again"

DDP Adam Kimber said:

"There is a real need to deter people, when things go wrong, from doing nothing. Eight and
a half hours passed before an ambulance was called because the child had stopped breathing"



Adam Kimber pointed out that in the video, Ashlee can be heard laughing when Chloe fell off of the bike and that instead of getting her the help she needed, Benjamin and Ashlee smoked Cannabis and went on to Facebook only four hours after she lost consciousness. Records show that the couple was on Facebook as well as doing online banking while Chloe lay suffering and dying.

Adam stated that there had been a chilling video of Benjamin telling what had happened that day and that support had been enormous from Ashlee's family as well as Government and non Government agencies. Chloe had at least 39 injuries that had been photographed to be shown in court:

"I asked the court to look at the stated of that child. That was the state she was in and yet
nothing was done. This is a particularly egregious breach of duty of care and it makes it
a serious example of manslaughter"

Adam told the court of how Chloe was afraid of Benjamin:

"The child was extremely fearful of McPartland and McPartland had demonstrated behavior
that was abusive, controlling and at times violent. This sentence tends to push down the sentence
that would be appropriate when a child dies, even there's and egregious breach of trust over two
days and there are mitigating circumstances. A proper sentence had to reflects society's
disapproval of conduct"

The DPP said that Chloe was unable to resist when the adults forced her to ride the motorcycle and was not able to get the medical care she needed on her own, which meant she was 100% relying on the adults to help her:

"The moral culpability could not be any higher. Polkinghorne made a deliberate choice to prioritize
her own interest and this is where I say general deterrence looms large in a case like this"

Adam brought up the fact that the ability of this couple to be rehabilitated was in question and since they might want to have children in the future, serious considerations needed to be made:

"Polkinghorne is still a young woman, it must be highly likely that she will have further children
herself in the future or that she will form a relationship with me who do. It is inevitable that she
will have care of children in the future, given her age, that makes personal deterrence particularly
important in this case"

Brian Deegan argued that the sentence was appropriate and that the Court OF Appeals had no business interfering with it:

"This is a 20 year old woman who was impregnated when she was 15 years old, a child herself
who has lost, in tragic circumstances, her only child. There was no malice intended, it was
supposed to be a happy time. Ms. Polkinghorne allowing her partner in her life, who was taking
a keen interest in her child, to teach the child to ride a motorbike. The whole episode was stupidity
at its worst, there is no doubt about that. But there was no malice at all"

Brian said that the laugh heard on the video is a nervous laugh and that she should not be given more time:

"What greater deterrent for her than to lose her only child in tragic circumstances? It would be
trite to suggest that she will not have learnt personally an enormous lesson from this incident.
There's no greater punishment than losing a child"

WOW, that's about all I can say. I guess you MISSED the parts of this "tragic circumstance" where Chloe couldn't sleep, complained of pain and then went unconscious and Ashlee, didn't bother to call anyone to get her help for EIGHT HOURS! Impregnated at the age of 15? She had sex, she got pregnant, she didn't "get impregnated". Furthermore, if she thought that Chloe was interfering with her life, she could have given her to someone who would love, take care of and PROTECT her.

Brian Deegan said that deterring like minded parents was not a considering in this case:

"Most people in the community would know that this was a dangerous exercise, most people
would not have placed a child of this tender age on this motorcycle that was oversized. Most
person would not have expected the child to be able to maneuver the motorcycle in such a
small area"

Anthony Allen, Benjamin's Lawyer said it was an unusual case and that his clients sentence was sufficient adding that a manslaughter cause has a wide variety of circumstances and each requires individual evaluation:

"Latitude is to be given to sentencing Judges and it is not be interfered with lightly.
This is not an offense committed out of anger, frustration or
retribution. This is not
a case that involves a lengthy protracted period of
negligence or neglect over a period
of weeks or months, such as where
food and water may be withdrawn from a child or
someone in particular
position of vulnerability is neglected resulting in malnutrition
and death.
This is not a case where there has been a creation of an environmental
squalor"

Again, what part of this child suffered for EIGHT HOURS in pain and went unconscious while your client played online and did NOTHING to help, are you failing to comprehend? Do you honestly think that because food and water were not withheld that this child was not abused or neglected? Grow up and face the facts, what WAS withheld from this little Angle, was the NECESSARY medical care she needed to stay alive. And guess what, Brian Deegan, it doesn't TAKE weeks of abuse and neglect for a child to die, I guess this case PROVES that.  Then to add insult to her injury, these two cowards left the hospital and let her die after life support was removed, while they were out doing, God only knows what.

UPDATE: October 30, 2014

In October of 2014, an inquest in to the death of Chloe was taking place. A former Families SA employee stated that at least three years before Chloe died, she had concerns about her case, but she put her trust into her supervisor. Elizabeth Daniel cried while testifying that there had been at least 20 complaints made to the Families SA about Chloe as well as her mother's use of drugs.

It came out during the inquest that in July of 2008, Strong Babies, Safe Babies had closed their file on Chloe's case and it was stated that Ashlee was, at that point, able to meet all of the needs of her child. Sadly, it came out that no one from the agency had actually been to the home to see where the child was living. It came out that at the age of only one year old, Chloe was drinking beer and there were drunken parties that had been reported and Chloe was never removed from the home. When asked if she felt the closing of the case had come too early, Elizabeth said:

"You want the best for the baby"

Elizabeth wanted what was best for Chloe, but she had trusted her supervisor to be doing the right thing. Elizabeth went on maternity leave in 2010, but was not comfortable enough to return to her job because she said that it was emotionally stressing to her after having had her own child:

"I realized after having a baby, what it was like and how difficult it was for me. I
couldn't go back because I couldn't cope with that service, working in that area
any more. Seeing and know what was happening to children,  young children and
probably not doing as much as you want to change that for them. I always wanted
the best for Chloe"

Elizabeth testified that she felt Ashlee did love Chloe, however, she didn't always keep her safe:

"I believe Ashlee really loved Chloe and felt Chloe really loved her so I wanted them
to be together but where she was safe and happy"

During the inquest it came out that the Families SA had been severely under resourced during the time they were in charge of Chloe's case. Tricia Foord had nothing but good things to say about Elizabeth for being honest:

"Ms. Daniels is the only worker that I've seen in the two weeks that clearly shows
remorse and some guilt. I'm so glad she was so honest"

Leann Stewart, Senior Social Worker in charge of the case, said that while there were concerns raised about Chloe's care during that time, she was not the worst case they were dealing with. Salvation Army Regional Operations Manager Katie Lawson said that Ashlee seemed like she was ready to move on to a new life, but then she became concerned after Ashlee gave birth and a family friend said that she made a negative comment after. Ashlee was reported to have said this right after giving birth:

"I'm glad that is  all over so I can get pissed again"

Ashlee began renting from Families SA and within a year it was said to be covered in trash and rats and people knew it as a home for drug and alcohol use:

"It was uninhabitable, it was filthy, it was absolutely not a suitable environment
for a child"
Katie Lawson

When the Salvation Army tried to let Families SA know what was going on, calls were not returned very often and when they were, comments were made that Chloe's development was acceptable to them:

"Ashlee was very good at telling people what they wanted to hear. Based on the state
of the property, I didn't think Ashlee had the capacity to provide Chloe with a safe, stable
home environment"

Katie Lawson did admit that she wrote a reference letter for Ashlee in which she was positive about what she had been able to achieve with Chloe:

"I think Ashlee had a lot of potential, as her support worker, I did not feel it was
appropriate to condemn her any further than she was already being"

REALLY KATIE? You didn't think that TRUTH was important enough, that saving the life of this little girl was more important than hurting Ashlee's feelings? The Coroner said this:

"Why would you write a letter like that, having regard to her track record? Don't
people like Ashlee need a good dose of the truth. This doesn't represent a good
dose of the truth, she was being given some praise. She deserved condemnation
rather than praise"
State Coroner - Mark Johns

There were many witnesses who testified at the inquest that the agency didn't pay attention to reports that this little Angel was living in a bad situation, in a home that was infested with rats and had trash every where while Ashlee did drugs and lied to Case Workers about how she was caring for Chloe's needs. It was said that Chloe hated her mother and that she had suffered at her hands as well as those of Benjamin.

Days before Ashlee was abel to move into the home, Katie Lawson had received a call from Tricia Foord and it was that she had been informed about Ashlee's comment after giving birth:

"She told me Ashlee said, after giving birth, she was glad it was all over so she
could get pissed again"

It also come out that funds given to Ashlee had been being misused and eventually, some funds were cut off. The Families SA offered to help clean up the trash, but it never happened the Salvation Army filed a report with the Child Abuse Hotline:

"It had escalated to the point notification had to be made because we were not getting
the response from Strong Babies, Safe babies, we needed. I had ongoing concerns
for Chloe's safety"

What come from that was the clear indication that if Families SA had actually ever SEEN the property, they might have knows that the Salvation Army's concerns were real and the situation was drastic. Complaints said that Ashlee had gone on a four day binge of doing drugs, that a witness had heard Ashlee say that at the age of 4 1/2 weeks, Chloe had not been fed for over four house because Ashlee had run out of formula.

Families SA Supervisor, Megan Cheverton said that their agency had many times received complaints that were malicious in nature and had no bearing on the way the case was cared for. Megan said that the first time she had met Ashlee, Ashlee pretended to be upset with her, though she paid loving attention Chloe:

"I remember Chloe was the prettiest baby I had seen. The allegations about drug use
were put to Ashlee and she said they were pathetic"

Megan reported to Families SA who said the claims were not real, yet Megan was told by a Child And Youth Health worker that the house was in bad shape. Megan said she had not visited the home because she was a part time worker and that she had only been able to do that three days later and when she tried to visit a man who answered the door said that Ashlee was not home and he refused to let her in. A later visit showed that Ashlee had made a small attempt to clean the house, though it didn't help much with the bathroom having food on the floor and a knife on the vanity.

Megan made a report and said:

"Ashlee is good at lying and hiding things, tells workers what they want to heart"

Megan also said that this inquest was the first time anyone had asked her about the case since Chloe died and that she would not have thought that everything Ashlee told her was the truth adding that she did not have enough information to decide if Ashlee had been addicted to drugs or not after she told workers that she was not. When asked why she had not removed Chloe from the home, she said:

"In order to remove a child, you have to have evidence that the child is at serious
risk or in imminent danger. It's very difficult to draw a line between less than ideal
parenting and abusive parenting"

The pictures below show what WOULD have been seen if anyone had bothered to go to Chloe's house to see what the conditions were like for her.







UPDATE:
December 5, 2018

In May of 2016, The South Australian Government was proceeding with plans to introduce legislation that would remove children, upon their birth, from a parent who had previous been convicted of killing another child as well as causing harm to or endangering the lives of a previous child. Coroner Mark Johns had recommended this change, among other changes, after his inquest into the death of Chloe.

Child Protection Reform Minister, John Rau, had been the one to introduce this legislation to Parliament and said that the amendments to laws concerning child protection would result in lasting change. I would have loved to see his face when the legislation passed both houses of the South Australian Parliament.

It was a great victory for everyone involved, but most importantly, it is a HUGE victory for the CHILDREN! The new laws say that authorities are now able to take away the children of parents who have been convicted of serious crimes. The bill intended to amend the states child protection act would return to the Lower House for final consideration before the legal changes would take effect.John Rau said that these changed were going to assure that when dealing with children, their safety was now going to come first when dealing with protection issues:

"I have been in lengthy negotiations with the Opposition trying to secure
the passage of this bill and I am happy that it has passed the Legislative
Council. More legislation will be required before we are done, but this is
an important first step. These amendments will make it clear that the
primary consideration is the safety of the children"

I LOVE THIS MAN!


Any serious criminal offense would NOW allow for the removal of children in order to keep them safe. Parent who have been convicted of offenses such as murder, manslaughter, criminal neglect, causing serious harm or even attempted offenses of this nature would NOW be losing their children! The newly passed will would also include cumulative harm which is something to consider when assessing risk to a child.

Family First MLC Robert Brokenshire was please with the passing of this bill though he said it had been a lengthy process:

"We're disappointed that it did take more than a year, that delay was not acceptable.
We have a good outcome and we believe that this legislation needs to go further"


Robert Brokenshire said that he would be pushing for a provision for drug testing or parents:

"I'll be introducing a private member's bill to actually make it mandatory where Families SA
know that there is a problem with drug and alcohol abuse that is putting a child at risk"


Robert Brokenshire wanted to be sure that parents were put into drug treatment programs and that additional, ongoing testing would take place to make sure they remained drug free.

This page was created on June 17, 2014
Death occurred in Australia

If you do not like what you see printed on this page, please see my DISCLAIMER statement. THANK YOU!




For information about how to report child abuse, please click the link below and you will be taken to a page that has an alphabetical, state by state listing of how to report child abuse for which state you are looking for and for some other countries.

Visit my child abuse quilt to see other places about preventing child abuse.


This page will open up in a new window so you won't lose your place while
visiting the Angels on my site.


 
Call this number to report child abuse ANY WHERE in the United States!
1-800-4-A-Child  1-800-422-4453


.