An Australian man tossed his 4-year-old daughter off a bridge in front of the girl's two young brothers in Melbourne today as scores of terrified motorists looked on in horror, authorities said.
Arthur Phillip Freeman, 35, suddenly stopped his family car - with his two young sons inside - and, with young Darcey Iris in his arms, walked to the railing of the West Gate Bridge and dropped her 190 feet into the murky waters below.
Shocked drivers who saw the tragic incident, which occurred during the morning rush hour at about 9 a.m., immediately called police as Freeman got back in his Land Cruiser and drove off, according to The Australian newspaper.
Divers fished little Darcey out of the water within 10 minutes and tried in vain to resuscitate her on the banks of the Yarra River.
The girl died from massive internal injuries about four hours later, the newspaper reported.
Freeman was arrested by Melbourne police an hour after the incident when he was spotted - accompanied by his two sons, Benjamin, 7, and Jack, 23 months - in a "visibly distressed" state outside a Melbourne courthouse.
The family had been in the midst of a custody battle.
Authorities said his other two other children are safely in the care of their mother Peta Jane Freeman, 39.
As he was led away, witnesses said Freeman begged court officers to "take care of my kids."
"He was pretty down and he had the two other children with him and he tried to enter the court. He couldn't talk to anyone, he wouldn't talk to anyone, he was just a mess," said Vince Mascia, a witness who was standing outside the courthouse.
Freeman has been charged with murder and deemed suicidal by psychiatrists who examined him.
A hand-written note found in Freeman's home revealed the man's desperation over the custody dispute that had dominated his life.
"You have a big fight on your hands and by no stretch of the imagination will it be easy," read the note.