Baby girl drowned in bath as dad smoked cigarette and scrolled through Facebook

Baby girl drowned as Daniel James Gallagher smoked cigarette and scrolled Facebook
Baby girl drowned as Daniel James Gallagher smoked cigarette and scrolled Facebook

A dad, who was supposed to be caring for his baby girl, smoked cigarette and scrolled through Facebook while his baby girl drowned to death near him.

A baby died after her dad left her in the bath for seven minutes unsupervised while he smoked and scrolled through Facebook.

Daniel James Gallagher, 26, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of nine-month-old Leah Jayde following her tragic death on April 2, 2021.

The man had put the child in the bath at their home in Queensland, Australia, as the water was still running, when Gallagher left the room to deal with an electrical issue in the property, Brisbane Supreme Court heard.

He then smoked a cigarette and scrolled through Facebook for several minutes rather than returning to his daughter.

When he returned to Leah he found her “floating face down” in the overflowing tub and called emergency services.

Gallagher also attempted CPR before paramedics arrived to take over.

Leah's mother Shaylan Gallagher, who had split from Gallagher in 2020, also hurried over to try to save her daughter.

The nine-month-old was rushed to the Hervey Bay Hospital, but sadly was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

Crown prosecutor Chris Cook estimated the careless dad had left his daughter on her own for about seven minutes.

He said there was “no doubt” Gallagher was remorseful, but told the court Leah's death was “not an accident”.

Mr Cook said: “It was beyond reckless. This was more than inattention, his actions caused an entirely avoidable death.

“The victim impact here is of course extreme.”

And this wasn't the first time a dangerous incident had occurred while Leah was in the care of her father - with the last event happening just days before her tragic death.

The court heard mum Shaylan had arrived at the home to find her daughter in the bath alone while Gallagher was once again smoking.

Defence barrister Andrew Hoare said Gallagher had been “distracted by extraneous, irrelevant matters”.

He said: “My client will always have the guilt of his conduct.

“My client has appreciated that his conduct won't just have an effect to him, but to everyone who loved his daughter.”

In a “profoundly moving” impact statement, Leah's mum Shaylan said she had experienced “great pain and psychological damage”.

She told ABC how she began “screaming and bawling her eyes out” after receiving the devastating news that her baby girl had been found unconscious.

She is now embarking on a mission to raise awareness of child safety.

Shaylan said: “It's about following your gut feeling. If you feel that your child is not safe somewhere, act on it.”

“I think it is just a constant reminder that you have your motherly instincts for a reason.”

Justice Peter Applegarth said the first incident days before Leah's death should have been a wake-up call to her reckless father.

Gallagher was handed a five-year sentence, suspended after 15 months.

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