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Aussie Charged With Murdering Twins

June 18, 2001

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BRISBANE, Australia (AP) _ A Melbourne man has been charged with murdering twin babies who were born prematurely and subsequently died after he allegedly attacked his pregnant ex-girlfriend.

Peter John Sellick, 34, was charged with killing Serenity and Jake Harrold on Nov. 24, 1999. He could face life in prison if convicted.

The case is the first in Queensland state since 1997 law reforms broadened the terms and penalties for injuries to or death of an unborn child. Under the previous law, a person could not be charged with killing an unborn child unless the assault occurred at full term.

Sellick is accused of punching and kicking Anita Harrold in the stomach when she was 22 weeks pregnant. Harrold went immediately into premature labor. The twins were born alive but died a few hours later, prosecutors said.

The code was amended after a 1996 case in which a woman who was five months pregnant lost her baby after being kicked in the abdomen by her ex-boyfriend, a martial arts expert, said Leanne Clare, director of the Department of Public Prosecutions. He was sentenced to nine years in prison for attempting to induce an abortion, she said.

Sellick was not required to enter a plea at Monday’s hearing at Queensland Supreme Court, and no date was set for trial.

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