Shaun Preston Mate jailed over attempted murder of three-year-old daughter at Eden Hills home

A man who tried to “inflict maximum hurt on his wife” by attempting to murder their three-year-old daughter in a vindictive act of domestic violence has been jailed for more than 14 years.

WARNING: This story contains details that may cause distress to some readers.

Key points:

  • Shaun Preston Mate and his three-year-old daughter were found unresponsive at their home in  2020
  • Mate plead guilty to attempted murder in March
  • He will be eligible for parole in seven years

Shaun Preston Mate and his daughter were found unresponsive and suffering from hypoxia at their Eden Hills home in July 2020.

The young girl spent five days in hospital – mostly in intensive care – and took weeks to recover from her injuries.

During sentencing in the Supreme Court, Judge Geraldine Davison said the 45-year-old, who pleaded guilty to attempted murder, had committed the most significant abuse of trust of a parent.

“Sadly in many marriage breakdowns when feelings are running high and the parties are feeling aggrieved and vindictive, the notion of depriving their partner of one of the greatest joys of their life can seem to be a way of wreaking revenge,” she said.

“There is a significant element of vindictiveness, planning and preparation in your offending.

“Your intention was to take your child's life as an act of vindictiveness against your wife.”

The court heard psychiatrists found Mate wanted to take the life of his daughter as she was the only one he had had a meaningful relationship with in the previous months and wanted to “inflict maximum hurt on his wife”.

Shaun Preston Mate jailed over attempted murder of three-year-old daughter at Eden Hills home

Police at the Eden Hills house where Mate and his daughter were found unresponsive in July 2020. (ABC News: Natarsha Kallios)

The psychiatrist report also found Mate — who was suffering a major massive depressive disorder — had displayed limited insight into his offending, had minimised his crime and showed limited empathy towards his ex-wife.

Judge Davison said Mate, who worked for the RAA, had started working from home in 2020 due to the pandemic, as his marriage also started to “decline”.

Mate's then-wife organised for him to see a mental health professional after he sent a number of unsolicited gifts, including a sex toy, to a friend of his wife's.

Judge Davison said a psychiatrist later found that support was “deficient”, with Mate able to “manipulate the system and the narrative”.

On the night of the offending Mate had made a photo montage of the couple, which he played on the television and said to his wife, “this is what you're going to miss out on” and that “this is the last time I'm going to kiss you”.

Judge Davison said Mate became angry and his ex-wife began to feel unsafe and called the police.

Police later arrived and the couple agreed Mate would stay in a room downstairs.

Judge Davison said the girl's mother woke up that night to find her daughter missing from her bed.

Shaun Preston Mate jailed over attempted murder of three-year-old daughter at Eden Hills home

Judge Geraldine Davison said Mate's actions were a significant abuse of trust.(ABC News)

Mate told her to “go away, we're having a little sleep now”, but the girl's mother heard her daughter gasp.

Police arrived and barged through the barricaded door.

Officers later found three suicide notes.

The girl's mother, whose identity is suppressed, has previously told the Supreme Court she would never forgive her ex-husband for his “confident, calculated and brazen” crime.

“I saw my child lifeless, gasping for breath and then having her snatched away and taken in an ambulance without me,” she said.

“This was the most harrowing experience of my life and the fact that this happened because of the cruel actions of her father was sickening.

“I still fear how [Mate] will infiltrate our lives in the future and continue to abuse us.

“Shaun's pride and ego had led him to believe [trying to kill] his daughter was preferable to divorce.”

The court heard the girl had made a good recovery but still suffered some ongoing psychological issues.

With time already served, Mate will be eligible for parole in seven years.

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