Revealed: The shattering words day care boss allegedly told ambulance officers when boy, 3, was found dead after being ‘left in the business’s bus for six hours in sweltering heat’
- The toddler was found dead inside childcare mini bus in Cairns last February
- Bus driver and employee were charged with manslaughter over his death
- Driver Michael Lewis allegedly told paramedics ‘I can’t believe I have done this’
- He allegedly also said ‘I’ll never see my kids again. What’s going to happen now?’
Devastating details have been revealed about what a day care boss told paramedics when a boy, 3, was found dead after allegedly being left in the business’s bus for six hours in sweltering heat.
Maliq Nicholas Floyd Namok-Malamoo, known as Meeky, was found still strapped in a baby car seat on a minibus at Goodstart Early Learning in Edmonton, near Cairns in Far North Queensland, last February.
Bus driver and manager Michael Glen Lewis, 45, and Goodstart employee Dionne Batrice Grills, 34, were charged with manslaughter over the toddler’s death.
Maliq Nicholas Floyd Namok-Malamoo, known as Meeky, was found still strapped in a baby car seat on a minibus at Goodstart Early Learning in Edmonton, near Cairns
Goodstart Early Learning employee Dionne Batrice Grills, 34, (pictured) was charged over the death of a three-year-old boy allegedly left on a child care minibus for six hours
Police allege the pair collected Meeky from his home and brought him to the centre earlier in the day but didn’t bring him inside with them.
Cairns Magistrates Court on Tuesday heard Mr Lewis allegedly told ambulance officer Jeremy Neal: ‘I can’t believe I have done this,’ Cairns Post reports.
He then allegedly 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 also claimed 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’.
Ambulance officer James Andrews claimed Mr Lewis repeatedly said his life would be ‘over,’ and expressed sadness that his ‘best mate’ had died.
Meeky’s lifeless body was found in the child care minibus (pictured), almost six hours after he was allegedly collected from his home last February
The court previously heard allegations Lewis and Grills signed in Meeky more than two hours before the bus arrived at the daycare centre.
Police allege the boy had been signed in by Mr Lewis at 7.35am on the Goodstart Early Learning Centre’s electronic sign-in system.
However, the boy was not collected from his home by the bus until 9.15am, and CCTV footage showed the bus did not arrive at the centre until 9.33am.
More than 500 mourners farewelled Meeky at his funeral two weeks after the tragedy.
A national child care provider, Goodstart reviewed its procedures and introduced a national compulsory refresher training for staff in the wake of the tragedy.
It led to new designated roles in the bus system; where staff members were assigned to be a driver, supervisor or checker.
Each have their own roles and duties to make sure kids get on and off the bus safely with the supervisor responsible for making sure no children are left on the bus before getting off.
The checker is responsible for inspecting the bus after it returns to the centre, then double-check the attendance roll and check off children.
The committal hearing continues.
Goodstart Early Learning overhauled its procedures in the wake of the tragedy in Cairns.
Tragic timeline of Meeky’s death
February 18 2020 7.35am: Edmonton Goodstart Early Learning Centre manager Michael Glenn Lewis allegedly checks in the boy on the electric sign-in system.
8.30am: The boy’s mother calls to ask if he can be picked up, as he was not collected on the initial morning run.
9.15am: Lewis and his colleague Dionne Batrice Grills collect the boy from his home on the mini bus.
9.33am: The bus pulls into the daycare car park, but the boy – who is strapped into a baby seat, two seats away from the front door – never gets off, despite being clearly visible.
**During the day the temperature rises to 36C in Cairns.
2.45pm: The bus leaves for the afternoon run, with the boy still in his seat.
3pm: Lewis makes a desperate call to Triple-0, telling the operator: ‘Oh my God, this kid is dead’
Emergency services at the centre after the tragic discovery of Meeky’s body inside the minibus in February 2020