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Relief for Esther Arunga as court releases her on parole over son’s death

Former news anchor Esther Arunga was on Thursday sentenced to a 10-month jail term in the murder case of her three-year-old son, but released on parole.

The former television journalist admitted to lying to police about the circumstances that led to her son’s death in bid to protect her husband Quincy Timberlake.

The former KTN anchor on Monday pleaded guilty to being an accessory to murder after the fact to manslaughter.

RELEASED ON PAROLE

According to Australian Associated Press, Ms Arunga, who was arraigned in a Supreme Court in Brisbane, was sentenced to 10 months in prison by Justice Martin Burns.

She was then immediately released on parole.

The news agency reported that the 38-year-old was convicted of being an accessory after the fact to the manslaughter of Sinclair Timberlake, who suffered fatal injuries at his family home at Kallangur, north of Brisbane, in June 2014.

On Monday, Crown Prosecutor Danny Boyle told the court that Ms Arunga had called the emergency services and told them that the boy had fallen down the stairs.

An autopsy later revealed that the cause of death was “as a result of severe blunt force such as punching or stamping or similar”, which was not consistent with a fall.

MENTAL EVALUATION

Mr Boyle further said that Ms Arunga kept up the lie for 26 days only to open up when her husband was taken for a mental evaluation.

“I was terrified of being alone and I felt terrible because my husband was sick as well,” she confessed to the police as to why she did not speak up earlier, AAP quotes.

Mr Boyle said that although Ms Arunga had not interfered with evidence, she had played a part in delaying the investigations and the arrest of the suspect.

Ms Arunga legal team told the court she had made a “voluntary correction” to police and her deception was due to “cultural factors” and attempts to protect her husband’s mental health.