'I yelled at the universe to bring him back': Grandma recalls tot's last moments as killer pleads guilty

'I rocked him for half an hour and told him how much he was loved and how much his mother loved him,' Connor Horan's grandmother Debbie Ballard said

'I yelled at the universe to bring him back': Grandma recalls tot's last moments as killer pleads guilty
Connor Horan’s grandmother Debbie Ballard recalled her grandson's death (Queensland Police Service)
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This article contains distressing content that could be traumatic for some readers. Discretion is advised.

QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA: The devastated grandmother of a two-year-old child who died in 2018 recalled when she held her grandson for the last time as his killer pleaded guilty to the crime. On August 19, 2018, Connor John Horan was in the care of a family friend, named Lisa Rose Halcrow, before he died because of several internal and head injuries.

Later, Halcrow was arrested and pressed with one count each of murder and grievous bodily harm. However, on Tuesday, November 8, she did not plead guilty to the murder charge but accepted the manslaughter charge. When crown prosecutor Phil McCarthy asked her at the Toowoomba Supreme Court, “Lisa Rose Halcrow, how do you plead, guilty or not guilty?” she replied, “I'm not guilty to murder, but I am guilty to manslaughter, Your Honour.”

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On the fateful day, Halcrow had called Ballard saying the child had fallen from the stairs before being instructed to rush him to the hospital. The grandmother also went there as she said his grandson underwent CPR for half an hour. However, he could not be saved. “I rocked him for half an hour and told him how much he was loved and how much his mother loved him,” the heartbroken woman recalled, according to DailyMail.

“Then I had to put him on this bed and walk away and leave him there. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. To see him that day and watch them try to revive him is the most horrifying thing I’ve been through in my life. I yelled at the universe to bring him back,” Ballard shared.

The grandmother also said that after seeing the coroner’s report that claimed the infant’s cause of death was asphyxia and head and internal injuries, she felt Halcrow was hiding something. Ballard mentioned, “The first week it happened she told me she couldn’t remember what position she found Connor in and I knew right away there were red flags.” She added, “The truth was being told,” referring to the criminal’s pleading.

Earlier, the little one’s mother Emily Horan had also pointed out “red flags” about Halcrow. She had told the court, as reported by abc.net.au, “Lisa popped over at random times wanting to babysit Connor. It got that bad that Mum mentioned it, that Lisa needs to back off. Lisa was pushy, always wanting to have Connor.”

She also noted, “He never seemed to settle down at Lisa's. He would crack it if I said her name. He didn't seem to be himself. I thought he wasn't being a typical two-year-old.”

In 2020, the mother had reportedly shared while remembering her son, “I said 'who's mummy?' and he pointed to his heart — that is one memory that I'll never forget. There was never a day [that] goes by that he would not cheer you up, or he wouldn't do anything to just at least put a smile on your face. He was always full of joy and kindness.”

Ballard had added at the time, “The last time I saw my grandson … he was so happy to see me. He has his little happy dance that he does, and gosh, we miss that so much. He came up to me three times that day doing his little happy dance … putting his arms up in the air to get a cuddle from grandma.”

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