Maree Crabtree mother allegedly killed her children and got a free trip from the Starlight Children’s Foundation. Picture: supplied.
Maree Crabtree mother allegedly killed her children and got a free trip from the Starlight Children’s Foundation. Picture: supplied.

How charity helped woman accused of killing her own kids

A NATIONAL charity sent Maree Crabtree's family on a Sydney holiday after she told the organisation a relative suffered serious medical problems.

In 2009, Maree Crabtree detailed to magazine Take 5 alleged illnesses suffered by the 25-year-old female relative she is now charged with torturing over a seven-year period.

While living in McCully's Gap in the Hunter Valley, NSW, the then 43-year-old told the women's magazine how the Starlight Children's Foundation had brought "sparkle" back to the family when times were bad.

mother Maree Crabtree charged with murder of her children Jonathan and Erin. pic Channel 9
mother Maree Crabtree charged with murder of her children Jonathan and Erin. pic Channel 9

She was paid $600 for telling her story to the publication, according to the magazine.

"At six months, (she) was diagnosed with chronic reflux," Crabtree said of the relative.

"By the time she had turned 15 months she'd had over 25 admissions to Sydney Children's Hospital in Randwick.

"Despite running tests they couldn't find a reason for (her) vomiting."

Crabtree told the publication she separated from her husband in 1994, not long after her daughter Erin was born.

"Sadly Erin has now been diagnosed with autism," she told the magazine.

"She's now regressed to the point where I have to feed and clothe her."

Erin was found dead at Plantation Cres, Maudsland around September 4, 2012.

Maree Crabtree has been charged with her murder.

Mother Maree Crabtree charged with murder of her children Jonathan and Erin
Mother Maree Crabtree charged with murder of her children Jonathan and Erin

The mother claimed the female relative was put on a permanent drip because she wasn't getting enough nutrients by eating normally.

"In February 2000, (the relative) was diagnosed with chronic inflammation of the oesophagus due to an allergy. But extensive allergy tests revelled nothing," Crabtree told Take 5.

"When (she) was seven I was told she had a mild intellectual disability."

Crabtree told the magazine by the time the girl was eight she was "suddenly better" to the amazement of doctors.

"Sadly I was barely able to enjoy (her) good health as Mum had a stroke and required constant care," she said.

"She died in 2003 and I was lost without her."

Crabtree told Take 5, three years later the relative's "condition" returned and she was admitted to The Children's Hospital at Westmead in Sydney.

"It was there we were introduced to the Starlight Children's Foundation wish-granting program," Crabtree said.

Maree Crabtree and Jonathan Crabtree - pictured with a family member
Maree Crabtree and Jonathan Crabtree - pictured with a family member

She told the magazine the relative had always wanted to be a vet, which made it easy to decide "exactly what to wish for".

The mother told the magazine the female relative was in 2008 diagnosed with "corkscrewing oesophagus spasms" and was put on "strong pain medication that didn't bring her any relief".

"In December last year (2008), (the relative) was finally well enough to have her wish fulfilled," Crabtree told Take 5.

Maree Crabtree mother allegedly killed her children
Maree Crabtree mother allegedly killed her children

"We went to Sydney on a five-day adventure paid for by the Starlight Foundation.

"On the first day, Starlight had arranged for us to stay at Taronga Zoo ...

"We camped out under the stars, waking up the next morning to the sound of animals. We cleaned the elephants and fed the giraffes.

"We also got to visit the Sydney Aquarium, Wildlife World and go on a cruise around Sydney Harbour.

"We had the best time.

"Organisations like Starlight make all the difference to us. They really help bring the sparkle back when times are bad."



Rio Tinto's exposure to aluminium material costs on the rise

Rio Tinto's exposure to aluminium material costs on the rise

Rio Tinto second quarter report released.

Awoonga still pulling the strings for barramundi

Awoonga still pulling the strings for barramundi

Infofish Australia 2018 mid-season barramundi review released.

Local Partners