Heat Stroke Claims Toddler’s Life, Mother Sentenced

Laura Rose Peverill, a 39-year-old mother from Townsville, Queensland, was sentenced to seven years in prison for the death of her three-year-old daughter, Rylee Rose Black. The toddler died in November 2020 after being left alone in a hot car for over five hours. Peverill, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in April, will be eligible for parole in less than two years.

The Supreme Court of Queensland heard that the child was left in the back seat of a locked car during the heat of the day. The internal temperature of the vehicle reportedly reached 51.5 degrees Celsius (approximately 124 degrees Fahrenheit). Prosecutor David Nardone described the conditions inside the car as “not survivable.”

Nardone detailed the tragic events of the day, explaining that Peverill and her then-boyfriend had gone grocery shopping, parked the car in a driveway without shade, and removed the groceries but not Rylee. The couple then went inside their home and watched a Netflix series. It was only when Peverill went to collect her other children from school that she found Rylee unresponsive, covered in vomit, and slumped in her seat.

Rylee was immediately rushed to the hospital, but she succumbed to heat stroke or thermoregulatory failure. Her body temperature was recorded at 41 degrees Celsius (about 105.8 degrees Fahrenheit) at the time of her death.

In a heart-wrenching victim impact statement, Rylee’s father, Peter Black, shared his grief. He described the moment he received the call from the hospital as the moment his world stopped turning. He recounted the day of his daughter’s funeral, where he sang ‘Twinkle, twinkle little star’ to her and apologized for not being able to save her.

Defence barrister Victoria Trafford-Walker highlighted Peverill’s long-standing struggles with mental health and alcohol. She also noted that on the day of the incident, Peverill was under stress due to dealing with removalists as she was planning to move in with her then-boyfriend. Trafford-Walker emphasized the profound impact the tragedy has had on Peverill’s life, leading to the end of her relationship and a deep sense of guilt.