'Reprehensible' Thief Who Blackmailed Grieving Parents Over Missing Phone Jailed For Three Years
Reprehensible. Amoral. Repellent. That's how a judge describes a woman who blackmailed the parents of a dying baby.
As Jay and Dee Windross said goodbye to their 11-month-old, Amiyah, in a Melbourne hospital, Siti Kamal saw an opportunity.
She pretended she had Mrs Windross' phone, filled with photos of Amiyah and stolen from a bathroom at Chadstone Shopping Centre days before the baby died in April 2019.
"You may help me today, god may help you," Kamal said in one of almost 160 WhatsApp messages exchanged with Mr Windross in the 24 hours before and after Amiyah's death.
Kamal never had the mobile, but it didn't stop her from demanding $1000 for its return and threatening to sell it, after spotting Mr Windross' Facebook plea for its return.
The 25-year-old blackmailer has been jailed for three years. She must serve two before being eligible for release on parole.
County Court of Victoria Judge Elizabeth Gaynor on Tuesday said Kamal's actions were reprehensible and repellent.
"That you should be inspired in the first place by such suffering to offend in this way, much less continue it as intensely as you did even after being told Amiyah was dying and then of her death, I find to be so reprehensible as to be amoral," the judge said.
"The immorality of your actions must have been clear to you from the outset.
"That you also falsely represented that you had the phone, which had the effect of adding to the Windross' devastation in the immediate aftermath of their daughter's death in my view only compounds the repellent nature of this offending."
The Windrosses still hold out hope the black Samsung S8 mobile, which was not backed up when it was stolen, could be returned.
"If you still have my phone, give it back to me," Mrs Windross told reporters outside court on Tuesday.
"Just give it back. You can't get anything from it. You can't get money from it.
"All you've taken from me and Jay is every single memory I have of my daughter. Give it back. Stop being so pathetic."
Amiyah was born with an undiagnosed neurological condition. She spent 200 of her 338 days alive in hospital and Mrs Windross documented everything.
"Whoever still has (the phone) or took it still has it and they need to know what they took from us," the grieving mum said.
"I don't care what happens to you. You'll get your own comeuppance. I just want my photos back."
Mrs Windross doesn't want to waste any more time thinking about Kamal, a mother-of-two likely to be deported to Malaysia upon her release from jail. "The fact she's deported and gets to see her own children, and Jay and I will never see Amiyah ever again, I think that's disgusting."
Kamal earlier pleaded guilty to blackmail, a crime her lawyer said had been driven by financial distress.
But Judge Gaynor found there was little evidence to back that up. Kamal has already spent 326 days in custody awaiting sentence.