A three-year-old girl is recovering in Princess Margaret Hospital after her drunken father abandoned her in the burning wreckage of a stolen car.
The East Victoria Park man, 25, was remanded in custody at a hospital bedside hearing yesterday after he allegedly bashed his former partner's 16-year-old niece with a baseball bat late on Sunday, before fleeing with Ebony-May Simpson in a family member's vehicle.
The toddler had emergency surgery for a torn bladder and is in a spinal splint as doctors determine the extent of her injuries.
Last night, her mother Caitlin Simpson said Ebony-May was recovering well.
"She is showing all signs of improvement," Ms Simpson said. "There is no further surgery that will need to be done, but they are keeping a close eye on her."
She said her daughter was not in the car long after the crash.
"She didn't get burnt, she could not feel the fire, she could only see it and smell it."
Ms Simpson said Ebony-May had asked after the policeman who had pulled her from the wreck.
"Ebony-May said the policeman saved her and we want to see if the rescuing officer can come to visit her."
Four children are understood to have watched as the 16-year-old tried to defend herself against the man, who swung the bat at her on the front lawn of an Ellenbrook property. The children ran as the man used the bat to smash a window and door and grab his daughter before bundling her in the car.
Neighbour Emily Parker rushed outside after hearing glass smash and a car drive off.
She said the toddler's mother stood on the road and shouted for her daughter. "She came out screaming, 'My baby, my baby, she's my everything and he's taken her'," Ms Parker said.
The West Australian understands family members told police the man had drunk a bottle of rum before the attack. It is believed he had been dropped off at the Ellenbrook address to spend time with his daughter, who lives in regional WA with her mother.
Police spotted the man 50 minutes later driving without headlights in Midland. They knocked on the car's windows at traffic lights to try to get him to stop.
Acting Supt Steve Byrne said the man drove off, but police did not chase the vehicle because of concerns for the girl. Soon after, the officers found the car crashed and alight on Great Eastern Highway at the Roe Highway on-ramp and pulled the girl to safety.
"One of the officers grabbed fire extinguishers to try to put the fire out while the other officer entered the vehicle and removed the child from the car while it was still burning," Acting Supt Byrne said.
The fire was extinguished but reignited seconds later and forced officers to get another extinguisher to try to prevent it from spreading.
The alleged offender ran away but was found by officers injured less than 200m away on Beaconsfield Avenue, hiding behind resident Harlee Pollett's car.
Ms Pollett said she heard a loud screech and bang.
"I walked out, I saw the lights over the top of the wall and I didn't expect to see a car on fire," she said.
The man is charged with 10 offences.