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In a Far North Queensland court, a childcare center operator who pleaded guilty to manslaughter after leaving a three-year-old boy to die on a daycare center bus has made a tearful apology to the family of the child.

WARNING: This article includes pictures of dead indigenous people.

“It has been a year since the body of Maliq Nicholas Lloyd Namok-Malamoo, identified as “Meeky” to his relatives, was found dead on 18 February 2020 on the Goodstart Early Learning Centre minibus in Edmonton’s Cairns suburb.

Driving the center minibus, Michael Glenn Lewis, 45, picked up the boy from his home and took him to the childcare center.

In what was described in court as a sequence of “disorganised and dysfunctional events” including Lewis’ inability to sign the child in on the bus, Lewis refused to take the child off the bus, despite Meeky being the only child on board at the time.

In today’s extremely emotional scenes at the Supreme Court in Cairns, Lewis turned to face the toddler’s family from the dock as they stood right behind him in the gallery during the proceedings.

“I’m so sorry, poor family, I’m so sorry,” Lewis said through tears.

“He was such a light — you guys were so beautiful — from the bottom of my heart I am very sorry it happened.”

As he left Meeky alone on the bus, where cabin temperatures soared to 56 degrees Celsius, the court heard that Lewis was running late for a meeting with centre managers.

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