Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Murdered boy told police he thought his dad was going to kill him (Tyabb, Victoria, Australia)

An absolutely appalling case from Australia we've been following for a while. This father should have been arrested and locked up LONG before he murdered his son in a public setting. The evidence of official bungling, incompetence, and corruption just grows higher and deeper.


Luke Batty told police he thought his father was going to kill him

Inquest hears that murdered boy had described to detective how Greg Anderson had held out a knife and prayed

Mother Rosie Batty told the inquest she never thought her ex-husband was capable of killing.

Melissa Davey Tuesday 28 October 2014 23.24 EDT

Eleven-year-old Luke Batty told a detective and a child protection officer he thought his violent father, Greg Anderson, was going to kill him but he would not call police if he felt in danger because “dad would get angry”.

But detective Deborah Charteris also told the inquest into Luke’s death that she did not believe Luke was frightened of his father or at risk of physical harm.

Anderson killed Luke on a cricket field in Tyabb, Victoria in February, hitting him over the head with a cricket bat and stabbing him with a knife. He had a history of physically assaulting Luke’s mother, Rosie Batty, but not Luke.

The inquest heard that in September 2013, Charteris and a child protection officer interviewed Luke because Anderson had held up a knife to him while they were in a car together, saying, “This could be the one to end it all”.

Luke told the interviewers his father had been praying when the incident occurred, and he felt his father was going to kill him, the inquest at Melbourne coroner’s court heard on Wednesday morning.

But Luke then backtracked, Charteris said, saying he had been watching horror films around the time of the incident and had scared himself into thinking his father was directly threatening him. It was an explanation she found plausible, she said.

Luke told them he was not frightened of his father. Charteris concluded a criminal offence had not occurred and Luke was not in danger, closing her investigation.

Charteris said she told Luke that if he was ever alone with his father and felt scared he could call his mother or police, the inquest heard.

Luke became upset and responded: “I couldn’t do that to dad, he would get angry,” the inquest heard.

Senior counsel Rachel Doyle challenged Charteris on her conclusion that Luke’s father was threatening self-harm with the knife and therefore Luke was not in danger.

“Have you received any training that a threat of suicide should be taken into account when considering if there is a risk of family violence escalating or continuing?” she asked.

Charteris said based on what Luke had told her in the interview, Anderson had implied that he might self-harm but never explicitly said he would.

“How does a knife settle it other than by harming someone else or oneself?” Doyle said. “What I am suggesting to you [is] if there’s an inference of suicidal ideation, that itself is a risk factor relevant to the risk assessment. Did it not occur to you that another reason he was retreating from his first report of being scared may have been for a reason, namely not to get his father in trouble?”

Charteris responded: “I believed his account was an honest one and I didn’t believe he was trying to protect his father.”

The inquest heard Charteris was not told before she interviewed Luke that he had told an art therapist he was seeing that he was worried his father was going to jail, and “I feel like my life is walking a tightrope all of the time”.

Charteris said she knew at the time that Anderson was facing charges related to child sex abuse images. But she told the inquest she was not aware Luke’s mother had signed an undertaking with child protection officers to keep Luke within her line of sight, and not to allow Anderson to take photographs of Luke because of the charge.

On Tuesday, Charteris broke down as her evidence began, saying she had thought about whether she could have done things differently “a thousand times” since Luke’s death.

She said she had been told by Luke and his mother that they did not believe Anderson would harm Luke.

Giving evidence last week, Rosie Batty told the inquest that she never thought Anderson was capable of killing.

“All I had known was he had loved his son, never laid a hand on him, was never verbally abusive towards him,” Batty said.

The inquest continues.