Self-help author charged with killing her seven-month-old baby girl who ‘drowned in bath when left unsupervised’

Fiori Giovanni, 35, a business coach and speaker, faces one count of child homicide after baby Illen was found unconscious at the family home in Melbourne, Australia.

Baby Illen was reportedly first discovered unconscious at 7.20am on July 18.

Police said she was unresponsive when they attended the home that morning. 

In a message posted to social media following Illen’s death and before she was charged, Giovanni paid tribute to her “beautiful little angel”.

“A shining star was sent to us to inspire, change, and transform our lives in the short 7 and half months we had the pleasure of being with her,” she said.

“And the light she has sparked in us can never be put out.

“We are currently not taking calls for we need this time to heal and process and be there for our beautiful son Odis but we’ve decided to have her cremated so that she can always be here with us.”

Giovanni chose not to appear at Melbourne Magistrates Court today, but her lawyer told the court that Illen had drowned in the bathtub while not being supervised. 

He also said the charges against his client weren’t allegations of any intentional act of harm.

“The charge of child homicide relates to an act of alleged criminal negligence on the part of Ms Giovanni,” he said.

They also said that Giovanni would have been charged with manslaughter, not child homicide, but for her daughter’s age. 

Giovanni lives in the Southbank neighbourhood with partner Ben Bellinger and their young son.

A funeral service for Illen was held for friends and family over Zoom amid restrictions on large gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Giovanni is the best-selling author of more than 30 books and regularly appears as a television panelist or corporate speaker in Australia. 

She arrived in Australia as a refugee aged just 15.

Her autobiography, Defy your Destiny, describes how, aged just 12, she escaped an arranged marriage in her native Eritrea.

She initially sought to have her name concealed because of her public profile, but the request was denied by a judge. 

She has been granted bail and is next due to appear in court in November.

Giovanni has been bailed and is due to appear in court again in November
Giovanni has been bailed and is due to appear in court again in November