Edmonton mother sentenced to 15 years for abuse of twin girls

A judge has sentenced a mother to 15 years for beating, neglecting and starving her two-year-old twin girls before one of them died in hospital.

EDMONTON — A judge has sentenced a mother to 15 years for beating, neglecting and starving her two-year-old twin girls before one of them died in hospital.

Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Eric Macklin is giving the 37-year-old woman a little over four years of credit for time she has already spent in custody.

Macklin said he could not conclude that she was depressed or mentally ill. But he added that she was “likely a mother who was completely overwhelmed by her circumstances and unable to cope” after the family moved to Canada from Algeria.

“It is difficult to conceptualize and verbalize the horrific acts to which these innocent children were subjected,” Macklin said in his decision Friday. “It is also difficult to conceive of a more egregious breach of trust between a parent and a child.”

The girls weighed 13 and 16 pounds and were the size of six-month-old babies when paramedics were called to the family’s home in 2012.

Court heard the twins’ four-year-old brother was healthy and the home was well stocked with food.

The mother and father both pleaded guilty to manslaughter and aggravated assault.

The father said the family had difficulty adjusting to life in Canada when they immigrated in 2008.

The mother apologized in court and said she never expected her family would face problems when they moved.

Court heard how she felt depressed and isolated caring for three preschool children at home while her husband worked.

The Crown had asked the judge to sentence the mother to between 23 and 25 years, but the defence asked for mercy, saying similar cases have ranged from 7 1/2 to 16 years.

The surviving twin and her brother were taken into foster case after their parents were arrested. They are now being raised by guardians.