independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Police shoot dad who beat son to death in public with cricket bat

Rosie Batty watched her son Luke being killed by his father

Police tried and failed to subdue him with pepper spray and he was shot once in the chest

An Australian father used a cricket bat to beat his 11-year-old son to death in front of the child's mother before being shot dead by police.

Greg Batty (54), who was said to be mentally ill, was practising with his son Luke at a suburban cricket ground in Melbourne night when he attacked him.

Luke had been training with other members of his junior team, most of whom had left. He asked his mother, Rosie Batty, if he could spend more time practising with his father. Mr Batty apparently bowled several deliveries to his son and then attacked him with a cricket bat and, reportedly, a knife.

Police said they arrived to find Mr Batty armed with a knife. They tried and failed to subdue him with pepper spray and he was shot once in the chest. He was airlifted to hospital but died yesterday.

They said the attack was likely to have been calculated and that Mr Batty, who had a history of violence, planned to kill his son and then be killed by police. He reportedly struck a fatal blow to Luke's head and then continued to attack him with a knife. Witnesses said the father chased the police and yelled at them to kill him.

Ms Batty, who moved to Australia from England 20 years ago, said she thought her son had been injured by a ball and that her estranged husband was trying to help.

"From what I could see, Luke had been injured," she said. "I thought it was an accident. It was just a little cricket practice. There were people there.

"I believed he was safe. I had no reason to be concerned. I thought it was in an open environment. That's something I have to understand."

Ms Batty and Luke recently returned from a five-week holiday to Britain and she said she believed her son and his father were comfortable with each other.

She said Mr Batty had refused to accept help over the past 11 years and spent months homeless but she believed he posed a threat only to her.

"No one loved Luke more than Greg, his father," she said. "What triggered this, I think, was a case of his dad having mental health issues ... his life was failing, that everything was becoming worse in his life and Luke was the only bright light in his life." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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