Child beaten to death with cricket bat by father in front of horrified onlookers
Published 13/02/2014 | 10:52
A father used a cricket bat to batter his 11-year-old son to death following a training session in front of horrified onlookers in suburban Australia.
Moments before his death, Luke Batty asked his British mother for some extra time to practice with his father, Greg Batty.
At a suburban oval in Melbourne, Greg Batty, 54, who was mentally ill, bowled several deliveries to his son and then used a cricket bat to kill his only child before being shot dead by police.
"It was just a little cricket practice, there were people there, I believed he was safe," his mother Rosie Batty, 52, from Willingham in Cambridgeshire, said.
"I had no reason to be concerned. I thought it was in an open environment, that's something I have to understand.
Watching on, Ms Batty, who moved to Australia from England 20 years ago, thought her son had been injured by a ball and that her husband was trying to help. The incident occurred at about 6.30pm on Wednesday, a half-hour after practice had ended; most of the parents and children had gone home.
"I looked for help, and I ran towards help and screaming, 'Get an ambulance, get an ambulance, this is bad, this is really, really bad," she said.
"From what I could see, Luke had been injured. I thought it was an accident, I had no reason to think otherwise.”
Ms Batty and Luke recently returned from a five-week holiday in Britain and she believed her son and father were comfortable with each other. She said Greg had refused to accept help over the past 11 years and spent the last few months homeless.
"No one loved Luke more than Greg, his father," she said.
“We both loved him. I did what I believed was in the best interests of Luke and I'm comfortable with that - it was a tragic situation that no one could see was going to happen.
"I'm still dealing with disbelief. 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."
Police have said the fatal attack was likely to have been a calculated act and that the father, 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 said she was struggling to understand the tragedy but did not blame police for killing her husband. Her family is flying out from Britain to support her.
“You're dealing with someone who has always had problems and they start off smaller and over years they get bigger but he's still the father and you know that they love them," she said.
On his Instagram page, Luke included a Christmas message to his mother as well as a post two months ago which said: "Have you ever loved someone but they treat you like c***?"