The West

Mum sad, ashamed before shower death
Miranda Hebble arrives at Perth Magistrate's Court today. Picture: Simon Santi/The West Australian

A mother whose two babies died in a running shower has given heartbreaking evidence of how she tried to hide her sadness while virtually housebound with her young children because she felt ashamed.

Miranda Hebble, 27, is the last witness at a coronial inquest investigating the death of her sons and Malachi Stevens, aged two years and ten months respectively when they died in November 2008.

The inquest has heard that Ms Hebble told emergency services she passed out while getting soap after placing her two children in a shower to wash them following an incident where Lochlan smeared the contents of his nappy in their Ellenbrook bedroom.

She had woken ten hours later to find the drains clogged and her children dead, with their potential causes of death listed as including drowning, hypothermia and hunger.

Today, Ms Hebble started giving evidence with her testimony revealing she had been extremely tired and also sad while looking after her two children with her partner working fly-in-fly-out.

She said she sometimes could not sleep at all as a result of her baby's erratic sleeping pattern and left the home about once a week unless her partner was back home.

She told the inquest she did not know why she was sad and had been too ashamed to tell her partner, family and friends.

"I was ashamed to talk about being upset all the time," she said.

"I like to keep everything inside... it's hard to talk about... I wanted to be strong... I wanted to prove I could do things and for (my partner) to be proud of me."

"I don't know why I was sad. I occasionally went to the shops or my Mum and Dad's when I was really down.... but I never showed it," she said.

Ms Hebble - who has anaemia and had suffered migraines - said she did not know why she did not see a doctor about her lethargy and tiredness which had occasionally seen her drop cups and not feel like doing anything.

"If I couldn't get to sleep I would watch TV... sometimes I just wouldn't sleep at all," Ms Hebble said.

Her cleanliness at home had also been affected, sparking arguments, she said.

"Lochlan was very active and Malachi was very sleepless so sometimes my cleaning did go under," she said.

The inquest has heard evidence from the boys' father, Christopher Stevens, that he had voiced concerns about her sleeping pattern and had offered to pay for extra help in the home.

Mr Stevens has since started a new family and has attended the inquest daily.

He had testified that he also called every second day to see how his then-fiancee was while he was away in the minesite.

Today, Ms Hebble said she had often felt that she had nothing to talk about aside from her boys because she never went out.

The WA Coroner, Alastair Hope, has suggested the case highlighted the plight of mothers trying to raise young children in isolation and a society that was becoming more and more insular.

Ms Hebble's evidence continues this afternoon.

The West Australian

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