A grieving mother who was brutally assaulted by her former partner – who then kidnapped and murdered her baby boy – has finally received an apology and pardon from the West Australian government, almost a decade after ‘enduring the unthinkable’.
Instead of being treated as a victim of domestic violence by police, Tamica Mullaley was arrested in March 2013 after a sustained beating at the hands of Mervyn Bell who left her naked and bleeding on a Broome street.
When police arrived on the scene, she was hostile to the officers.
When her father Ted Mullaley arrived, the situation continued to escalate with the pair eventually detained, charged, prosecuted and convicted.
But WA Attorney-General John Quigley told parliament on Wednesday that Ms Mullaley ‘s actions were unsurprising given the violence she had suffered.
‘Tamica and Ted have endured the unthinkable,’ Mr Quigley said.
‘In just two days Tamica had suffered a life-threatening assault and lost her baby in the most horrific circumstances.’
Mervyn Bell attacked Tamica Mullaley (pictured) on a Broome street, stripped her naked then drove off before returning and attempting to drive over her in March 2013. He was not there when police arrived and arrested Ms Mullaley after she became aggressive
After her arrest, Ms Mullaley’s 10-month-old boy Charlie was been left in the care of family friends.
But soon after, Bell returned to the area and kidnapped the boy. He murdered him the following day.
He was serving a minimum of 27-year sentence when he took his own life in 2015.
The police conduct in Ms Mullaley’s case was criticised in a Corruption and Crime Commission review though it ruled there was no serious misconduct.
A coroner investigated the death but did not hold an inquest.
But Mr Quigley said both Ms Mullaley and her father had deserved much better.
‘On behalf of the government of Western Australia, I am sorry for the way you were treated by the government and the WA police both before and after losing baby Charlie,’ he said.
‘Ted and Tamica deserved compassion. Instead, the system we thought we could rely on to support victims of crime failed Tamica and Ted and they were dragged through the courts themselves.’
Bell then abducted 10-month-old Charles ‘Charlie Boy’ Mullaley (pictured) from two young neighbours who were caring for him while his mother was in custody
Bell (pictured) proceeded to sexually abuse and torture the infant, inflicting broken bones, burns and bruises during a 15-hour road trip before the baby died
Mr Quigley said the WA governor had also granted absolute and unconditional pardons to both Ms Mullaley and her father, in what was a ‘most exceptional step’.
‘These pardons are a show of mercy which have been a long time coming,’ he said.
Both Ms Mullaley and her father were in parliament’s public gallery on Wednesday to hear Mr Quigley’s statement.
Calls for the inquest were backed by the National Justice Project, which cited a section of the Coroner’s Act that an inquest must be held if it appears a death was caused, or contributed to, by any police action, but it was rejected.
THE MURDER OF LITTLE CHARLIE MULLALEY
March 19, 2013
10.30pm: Mervyn Bell bashes his girlfriend Tamica Mullaley before stripping her naked and dumping her on the side of a road in Broome, Western Australia.
That same night, Bell abducted Ms Mullaley’s 10-month-old son Charlie and raped and tortured him.
March 20, 2013
Early hours: Ms Mullaley’s father contacts police multiple times telling them Bell had taken Charlie.
Bell murdered Charlie later that day, and the people whose custody the child was placed in are not contacted by police until 10am.
December 12, 2014
Bell is sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum non-parole period of 27 years. In sentencing Bell, the judge described his crime as one of the most evil he had ever encountered.
Bell is jailed for an additional five years for attacking Ms Mullaley.
September 9, 2015
Bell is found dead in his cell at Casuarina Prison, 30km south of Perth.
April 21, 2016
WA’s corruption watchdog found police could have done more to ensure the child’s safety, but there was no serious misconduct.
April 16, 2019
Ms Mullaley and her father Ted begin legal proceedings against WA Police in relation to Charlie’s death.