A NURSERY worker screamed “I can’t believe I’ve done this” after leaving a three-year-old boy to die on a sweltering 66°C bus.
Maliq Nicholas Floyd Namok-Malamoo, known as Meeky, was left strapped to his car seat for six hours in blistering conditions.
Bus driver Glen Lewis, 45 and colleague Dionne Batrice Gills, 34, who work at the Goodstart nursery, have been charged with manslaughter following the toddler’s tragic death last February.
Police suspect the pair collected Meeky from his home and brought him to the centre earlier on in the day but didn’t bring him inside with them.
Cairns Post reported that Mr Lewis had allegedly told ambulance officer Jermemy Neal: “’I can’t believe I have done this.”
He then said: “I thought I’d done the headcounts. I have had meetings all day.
“I thought there was a funny smell in the car when I was driving to the school.”
Mr Neal then also claimed that Mr Lewis said: “I’ll never see my kids again. What’s going to happen now? They’re going to come and kill me. My boss said don’t talk to the police”.
Another ambulance officer claimed that Mr Lewis repeatedly said that his “life would be over”, and expressed his sadness that his “best mate” had died.
Cairns Magistrates Court on Tuesday heard allegations Lewis and Grills signed in Meeky more than two hours before the bus arrived at the daycare centre.
Police records allege the boy had been signed in by Lewis at 7:35am on the Goodstart Early learning Centre’s sign-in system.
But Meeky was not collected from his home until the bus arrived at 9:15am, and CCTV footage shows the bus did not arrive at the centre until 9:33am.
Timeline of Meeky’s tragic death
February 18 2020, 7:35am: Edmonton Goodstart Early Learning Centre manager Micheal Glenn Lewis checks in boy on the sign on system
8:30am: Meeky’s mother calls to ask if he’s been picked up, as he was not collected on the initial morning run.
9:15am: Lewis and college Dionne Batrice Grills collect Meeky from his home on the mini bus.
9:33am: The bus pulls into the daycare car park, as seen by CCTV. Meeky is strapped into a baby seat, two seats away from the door but never gets off despite being clearly visible.
During this time the day temperature rises to 36C in Cairns.
2:45pm: The bus leaves for the afternoon run, with the Meeky STILL strapped into his seat
3pm: Lewis makes an emergency call to Triple-O, telling the operator: “Oh my God, this kid is dead.”
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Over 500 mourners bid farewell to Meeky at his funeral two weeks after the tragedy.
Goodstart is a national childcare provider, and has now reviewed its procedures and introduced a national compulsory refresher training for staff in the wake of the tragedy.
The committal hearing continues.