After yesterday’s story, this is the other side of the child protection issue.
A four-year-old boy bashed to death by his mother’s boyfriend told his grandmother, “(He) hurts me, nanny”, just weeks before his death, court documents show.
The little boy’s plea of, “(He) hurts me” and “(He) holds me down in the bath”, sparked efforts by his grandparents to alert the Department of Community Services (DoCs) and the police to his plight.
But no official action was taken and the boy died about five weeks later after the man hit him a number of times to the head while bathing him on April 1, 2011.
There were emotional scenes in the Supreme Court in Sydney on Monday when the man, 24, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded not guilty to murdering the boy, but guilty to his manslaughter.
The boy’s mother sobbed in the stand as she described how she watched her son fall to his knees and how she initially lied to police about what happened to him.
On the evening of her son’s death, her boyfriend had been coming down from amphetamines when he insisted on being the “father figure” and bathing the little boy after he wet the bed, she told the court.
An agreed statement of facts tendered to the court also showed the mother had been smoking cannabis earlier that day, while the boy had been suffering from a urinary tract infection exacerbated by her accidentally giving him undiluted fruit juice.
“(The man) was aggravated. Anything could make him spark, crack,” the mother told the court.
While he was bathing the child, she said she heard four bangs coming from the bathroom.
“(I heard the man) saying after each bang, `…stop it’,” she said, adding he sounded, “angry, agitated”.
When she looked into the bathroom, she said she saw the child standing there.
“(He) took a step towards me and fell to his knees,” she said through her tears.
After she dried the boy off, she asked him if he wanted his pyjamas, but he said, “No mummy, it’s too hot”, she said.
“He was really hot to touch. He was glassy eyed,” she said.
The man then told her to “fuck off” and she went downstairs, she added.
“I was scared … because of the previous physical violence to each other,” she said.
A few minutes later – after the man had returned downstairs – he went back up to check on the child and then called for the mother to come quickly.
The little boy appeared blue, was lying on his back with his eyes closed and had “four red dots” on his forehand, the woman said.
“All I could do was scream out his name,” she said.
The boy died later at Warren Hospital, with doctors finding he died as a result of multiple injuries, including severe head injuries. He had also inhaled water prior to his death.
The court heard the boy had been taken to hospital four days before his death suffering from a nose injury, black eyes and a cut to his forehead.
After his death, additional recent injuries were discovered on his body.
When the little boy stayed with his grandmother in February 2011, he told her, “(the man) hurts me, nanny”, and “(He) hurt me and holds me down in the bath”, the statement of facts said.
“The (grandparents) attempted to air their concerns about his welfare with the Department of Community Services and the police, but ultimately no official action was taken,” the facts said.
Justice Elizabeth Fullerton asked the woman, “Did you know your son had told your mother within a short time of his death that (the man) had held him down in the water?”
“Yes,” the mother replied.
The man’s sentence hearing will resume on April 5.