Toddler spent his final days vomiting and crying in agony after being punched in stomach by mother's boyfriend
Disturbing details about 22-month-old Mason Lee's horrifying death and the toddler's "survivable injuries" that were inflicted by his stepfather have been heard by the Brisbane Coroners Court in Australian on Thursday.
Mason would have been dehydrated, feverish, lethargic, pale, and showing "impaired levels of consciousness (and) altered breathing patterns", the court was told, according to a Daily Mail report.
Megan Jarvis, counsel assisting the coroner, said, "It would have been obvious to any normal person he was very sick and in urgent need of medical attention."
According to the report, the boy spent his final days vomiting and crying in agony as he inched toward his death "slowly and painfully." He was reportedly neglected and subjected to mistreatment throughout his short life and died making grunting noises with blue lips as he lay wrapped in a towel. Traces of methamphetamine was also found in his blood, the court has heard.
The latest development comes after it was previously heard that Mason was treated for multiple injuries in the months before his death and was admitted to Lady Cilento Children's Hospital for at least three weeks in February 2016. Although paramedics had responded to the address within six minutes of getting a call, O'Sullivan had back then blamed them for Mason's death claiming they responded slowly.
Furthermore, the court has also heard that child protection services dealt with the toddler's situation rather poorly. Mason was not taken from his mother and her boyfriend despite his situation being known to the Queensland government's child safety department.
In the next hearing, which is expected to be held in November and December, the court will be aiming to understand 'what was going on the minds and hearts' of child safety officers tasked with protecting Mason Jet Lee.
"An ethical standards investigation into the actions and decisions of individual child safety officers following Mason's death was critical of a number of the officers involved," Jarvis said. "(It found) deficiencies in the way they investigated, assessed and made decisions about the risk of harm to Mason and the steps required to protect him from future harm."
"Whilst it may be easy to point to evidence of non-compliance with policies and procedures, it is more difficult to go behind those issues ... to understand what was going on the minds and hearts of those individuals at the relevant time," Jarvis added.
The little boy had to face the unbearable trauma after her mother Anne Maree-Lee failed to protect her from her boyfriend, William Andrew O'Sullivan, who punched the toddler in the stomach and ruptured his intestines at his Queensland residence back in June 2016.
Lee and O'Sullivan have been convicted of child cruelty after they failed to seek help for his leg and anus injuries about five months before his tragic death. Both have been handed nine-year jail terms and the state government has also appealed to delay their parole eligibility dates.