A woman who tried to blackmail the parents of a dying girl whose final days were recorded on a lost phone had snatched away “the last opportunity we had with our daughter”, the baby’s father said.
Siti Nurhidayah Kamal, 25, pleaded guilty in the County Court today to blackmailing Jay and Dee Windross, who were were desperate for the return of the lost phone containing photos of their 11-month-old daughter Amiyah.
“You took those moments away in the last opportunity we had with our daughter,” Mr Windross said in a statement read in court.
Amiyah died in April, days after the phone with irreplaceable family pictures went missing from a suburban shopping centre.
After a public appeal for the phone, Kamal contacted Mr Windross, claiming she had the device and would return it for $1000.
As the Windrosses cradled their sick child, Kamal – a mother of two whose children remain in Malaysia – was messaging Mr Windross with demands in the hours before and after Amiyah’s death from an undiagnosed neurological condition.
A total of 158 messages were recorded between Kamal and Mr Windross in his effort to retrieve the phone.
“There was finally a tiny light of positivity to give us something back,” he said in his statement.
Judge Liz Gaynor said Kamal committed “horrendous” offending against a couple who could not have been in a more appalling situation.
“At the point at which their daughter is actually dying, to be faced with this is almost unimaginable,” she said.
“It’s an exploitation of two people who are vulnerable and desperate to regain possession of something that’s very precious to them. It’s a devastating loss.”
Kamal has been in custody since her arrest in April, and will remain remanded until February pending a further psychiatric report.