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Disabled girl, 4, was ‘eaten by rats’ after being ‘starved & left to die’ as parents charged with murder


THE PARENTS of a vulnerable disabled girl whose face was “eaten by rats” after being “starved and left to die” are now standing trial to her murder.

Cops allege that four-year-old Willow Dunn was left in agony, with burns to her scalp and deep infected sores that exposed her hip bones.

Willow Dunn is thought to have been lying there for days before cops found her
New Zealander Mark Dunn and Shannon White are both standing trial for Willow’s murder

Horrified residents lay flowers at Willow’s home[/caption]

The girl who had Down Syndrome from Brisbane, Australia was found in an “extremely confronting” state, cops said at the time when cops discovered her body at her home on May 25 last year.

The horrific details were revealed at a pre-trial hearing yesterday for her father, Mark Dunn, 43, and his partner Shannon White, also 43. Both are both charged with her murder and child cruelty.

Officers believe she died two days before being found, Australian Associated Press reports.

Speaking at Brisbane Magistrate’s Court yesterday, Senior Constable Andrew Kitas said cops were told by paramedics at the scene that it looked like the girl’s face had been eaten by rats.

Forensic Pathologist Dr Andrew Kedziora added that she had pressure sores that went down “to the bone”.

The wounds were found mostly on her back, which suggests she was unable to move, he said.

“If a child is able to move even a little bit and change the position this will immediately improve the circulation or blood flow through this area and slow down or reverse those changes,” Dr Kedziora said.

“So the fact that these pressure sores are present and they are so deep shows that for quite a while the child did not move at all.”

Some sores were also found on her pelvic bones, which could’ve been caused by pressure from clothing, like nappies.

The vulnerable youngster also showed signs of having pancreatitis, which is often caused by poor nutrition and chronic dehydration, the doctor said.

New Zealander Mark Dunn allegedly told police that he had found his daughter dead – with her face attacked by rodents – in her bedroom.

But he did not contact emergency services until various days later after she was left to rot in her cot where rats later mauled her face.

Dunn allegedly asked paramedics arriving at their home: “I’m in trouble, aren’t I?”

The Courier-Mail reported that neighbours had no idea there was a young girl at the house, as they had never seen her at the property and that her Down’s syndrome was not registered with healthcare authorities, leading detectives to allege she was not receiving the care she needed.

Willow’s most recent doctor visit was in 2018 where she was recorded as being “quite lively and behaving normally” at the time, the court heard.

A height reading taken at that appointment and one taken at the time of her death suggested she may have stopped growing, pathologist Dr Kedziora said.

The eight months he cited as the normal amount of time for the drop in height to happen can be sped up if a child suffers intermittent disease of childhood infections.

Dunn and White will stand trial at the Supreme Court but a date is still to be set.

Both are still on remand after each being charged with one count of murder and another of child cruelty.

Willow’s biological mother died in childbirth, with her death allegedly sending Dunn into depression and leaving him struggling to cope, he told cops.

The Daily Mail reports Willow was sent to live with an aunt and uncle after her mother’s death.

Their father later took Willow and her brother, who is now seven, back to live with him despite an attempt by the relatives to regain custody.

Father Mark Dunn was first to be charged for her murder

Her stepmum, Shannon White, was subsequently charged with her murder as well[/caption]


Forensics take evidence from possessions at the family’s home in Brisbane[/caption]

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