A woman accused of leaving her young stepchildren home alone while she travelled overseas claims she could not take them with her because their passports are missing.
Through an interpreter, she said: ‘If you're really concerned about my children, can you please help me sort out this post office issue and locate the passports because without passports my children will not be legal here’.
Her two young stepchildren, aged four and six, were 'screaming and crying' when police arrived at their house in Cloverdale, Perth's east, on Wednesday, two days after she allegedly left them home alone so she could travel overseas.
A neighbour said she had no idea the children were left to fend for themselves and only learned they were alone after hearing their cries when police arrived.
'The kids were crying and screaming,' she told the West Australian. 'Had I'd known I would have called the police,' she added.
The woman was arrested by Child Abuse Squad detectives at Perth International Airport when she returned to the country on Thursday.
She had reportedly travelled to Bali to renew her visa while the children's father was also away.
'It will be alleged both parents were overseas at the time the officers entered the property,' a police spokeswoman said. 'The children were subsequently removed from the property and placed into appropriate care.'
The woman was charged with two counts of engaging in conduct which could result in harm to a child in a person's care and control.
She is due in court on June 22.