VICTORIA'S Premier said he would do all he could to speed up the installation of safety barriers on Melburne's West Gate Bridge after a girl was allegedly thrown off it by her father yesterday.
The debate over the suicide prevention barriers intensified yesterday after Arthur Phillip Freeman, 35, was accused of murdering his little girl, the Herald Sun reported.
Premier John Brumby said the state Government held emergency talks with VicRoads yesterday in the wake of the tragedy and plans for the barriers were already being drawn up.
"We are committed to putting in place the safety barriers on the bridge, we will do anything humanly possible to speed this up," he told ABC radio.
"When we commited to the bridge project we had a long discussion about the issue of the safety barriers. There has been a difference of opinion about whether this is the right thing to do. We received different advice about it."
A shell-shocked Mr Brumby said he "just shuddered" when he heard about the tragedy.
A handwritten note found in the home of Mr Freeman yesterday spoke of "keeping a clear head". "You have a big fight on your hands and by no stretch of the imagination will it be easy," the note read.
Mr Freeman was arrested after Darcey Iris Freeman, 4, died in a tragedy that left a young family destroyed and the nation in shock.
Doctors and paramedics fought to save the little girl but she died from massive internal injuries about four hours after she was pulled from the river by water police. It is alleged she had plunged nearly 60m.
Mr Freeman was too mentally disturbed to appear in court late yesterday, which was told he was on suicide watch. The Hawthorn IT consultant was remanded in custody until May 21.
He was scheduled to deliver his children to school and creche yesterday morning, and when they did not arrive his wife raised the alarm. Mrs Freeman was in the care of relatives last night.
A day of tragedy started about 9.10am AEDT, when a white 2004 Toyota Land Cruiser allegedly stopped on the inbound side of the West Gate, in peak hour traffic.
Horrified motorists who saw a girl dropped over the edge stopped their cars and frantically scanned the river below.
Darcey was pulled unconscious from the water, close to the western bank of the river. Paramedics spent about 50 minutes resuscitating her before she was flown to the Royal Children's Hospital in a critical condition.
Just over an hour later, Mr Freeman was detained after he was seen pacing in a distressed state in the foyer of the Commonwealth Law Courts building in William St. His two sons, Benjamin, 6, and Jack, 2, were trailing behind him.
Worried security staff called paramedics and police when he did not respond to their questions. At one point he approached security staff and said "can you take my kids for me". Mr Freeman offered no resistance when he was arrested.
A white Land Cruiser was found parked nearby. A child booster seat was in the back seat, along with children's toys and clothing. Darcey was pronounced dead at 1.35pm with her mother at her bedside.