Chris Clarke, The Courier-Mail
Charmaine Harris McLeod loaded her four children – Aaleyn, 6, Matilda, 5, Wyatt, 4 and Zaidok, 2 – into a car on May 27 before driving into a semi-trailer at speed on the Bunya Highway, near Kingaroy, west of Brisbane.
Homicide detectives are investigating the crash as a murder-suicide.
Now, a month after the horrific ordeal, the children’s father James McLeod has called his former partner an “evil” person.
“She’s just been a lying, vindictive, evil, nasty person,” he told The Courier-Mail.
“I’ve always known that she would do something like this to the kids. I’ve let judges know, I’ve let lawyers know, I’ve let DOCS (the Department of Child Safety) know, I’ve let police know.
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“They’ve all turned a blind eye. This all could have been prevented if they did something. (I’ve been telling them) for years.”
Mr McLeod said the situation between Charmaine and himself escalated on New Year’s Eve 2017 when Charmaine attempted to abduct the children from his care.
But police quickly intervened, Mr McLeod said.
“She first attempted to abduct the kids not last New Year’s but the New Year’s beforehand – 2017,” Mr McLeod said.
“I separated from her because her behaviour around the kids was a bit questionable. So I had to protect them. So I asked her that we live separated. It’s been going on for a while.
“Anyone with a brain can figure out what happened. I’m still not sure what to do – I’ve always been a mother and a father to those children. I raised them. I was the carer for their mother as well.”
A note was found at the scene of the crash, prompting the involvement of the homicide squad.
Their deaths have not been added to the national road toll.
The cause of the crash will be determined by the coroner.
Mr McLeod says he still doesn’t know what was in the note and isn’t sure he wants to find out.
“I don’t even know what was in the letter that she wrote,” he said.
“That pretty much tells us what happened vaguely, without actually calling it what it is.”
Mr McLeod’s focus has now turned to educating people about the shortfalls within Australia’s Family Court system, he says.
Minister for Child Safety Di Farmer issued a statement late today.
“We are prevented from commenting on individual cases under the Child Protection Act but department staff are continuing to support formal investigations into this terrible tragedy,” she said.
If you or anyone you know needs help, call LifeLine: 13 11 14 or visit beyondblue.org.au