Mother pleads guilty to killing her 22-month-old son Mason Lee – because she took the toddler to McDonald’s instead of hospital after her boyfriend punched him so hard his intestines ruptured
A mother has pleaded guilty to killing her one-year-old son by not helping him after her boyfriend savagely bashed him.
Anne-Maree Lee failed to care for her son Mason after he was found with extensive injuries at her boyfriend’s home in Caboolture, north of Brisbane, in June 2016.
He had been so severely beaten he suffered a broken leg and a ruptured intestine before spending the last of his days vomiting, feverish and dehydrated.
In the days after the boy was beaten, Ms Lee took him to McDonald’s for burgers instead of hospital.
Today Ms Lee sobbed in court as she pleaded guilty to manslaughter and child cruelty.
The 21-month-old suffered severe injuries, including a ruptured intestine in the days leading up to his death
William Andrew O’Sullivan (pictured) was sentenced to nine-years imprisonment for the death of 22-month-old Mason Jet Lee and will be eligible for parole in less than four years
The toddler (pictured) was found with extensive injuries at O’Sullivan’s home in Caboolture, north of Brisbane, in June 2016
Prosecutor Michael Byrne told the Brisbane Supreme Court on Tuesday: ‘Medical opinion is it would have been obvious that he was very sick and in urgent need of medical attention.’
In September the boy’s stepfather William O’Sullivan was jailed for nine years.
O’Sullivan pleaded guilty to four separate charges before the Queensland Supreme Court, including manslaughter and cruelty to a child under 16-years-old.
He failed to assist the toddler in his last days, instead yelling at him to ‘shut up’ when he cried as well as hitting and kicking him.
Mason, who was subjected to neglect and mistreatment in his short life, spent his final hours with blue lips, wrapped in a towel and making grunting noises.
In addition to the injuries, traces of methamphetamine were found in his blood.
In the months before his death, Mason was treated for multiple injuries and was admitted to Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital for three weeks in February 2016, a court was previously told.
O’Sullivan tried to blame Mason’s death on paramedics for responding slowly, despite arriving at the property six minutes after they were called by a friend.
He also lied to police saying he found Mason with blue lips and mouth clamped on a bottle before calling an ambulance.
Founder of Bravehearts, a leading child protection organisation in Australia, Hetty Johnson said O’sullivan’s sentence – which gives him change for parole in four years – said was inadequate and shows the system is failing children.
‘How can you kill a child and walk away after four years? It just defies any kind of logic, it doesn’t set any example,’ Ms Johnston said.
‘I think they need to throw the whole sentencing regime out the window and start again.’
The Queensland Opposition’s child safety spokeswoman Ros Bates said the system needs an overhaul.
‘I’m sure that the public don’t think that a sentence that lenient is sufficient for what that little boy went through,’ she said.
O’Sullivan (pictured) failed to assist the toddler in his last days, instead yelling at him to ‘shut up’ when he cried as well as hitting and kicking him
Mason was so severely beaten he suffered anal injuries, a broken leg and a ruptured intestine, spending the last of his days vomiting, feverish and dehydrated
‘How can you kill a child and walk away after four years? It just defies any kind of logic, it doesn’t set any example,’ founder of Bravehearts Hetty Johnston said
MASON JET LEE’S EXTENSIVE INJURIES AND ILLNESSES
Cellulitis – likely caused by an insect bite that became infected
Prolapsed anus – likely due to internal pressure from abdominal passage or large, hard stools
Jacquet’s dermatitis – rare form of nappy rash
Fractured leg – caused Mason to limp, likely caused by child’s play
Perforated duodenum (a segment of the small intestine) – caused death after vomiting, abdominal pain, fever. People who saw him described him as pale, looking unwell and having dark eyes staring blankly
Peritonitis – inflammation of the membrane lining the abdominal wall
Septicemia – allowed faecal matter to fatally contaminate his bloodstream
Fractured coccyx – found in autopsy. Prosecution speculated was caused by kicking
Bruises – caused by fingertips to forehead, jaw, chest and abdomen
Source – AAP