Gaming addict admits killing 7-week-old son in fit of rage while playing PlayStation, mother devastated
A man addicted to gaming has confessed to murdering his seven-week-old son in a fit of rage. On Friday, December 4, Joseph William McDonald from Australia pled guilty to one count of child homicide at Victoria's Supreme Court. Baby Lucas died in October 2019 after he sustained a serious head injury at his home in Benalla, in Victoria's northeast. The court was told McDonald was playing a PlayStation game when he became infuriated and lashed out at the child. The Daily Mail reported that before the tragic incident, the man had searched online for treatment related to anger management issues. At the time, he texted the child’s mother Samatha Duckmanton saying he was sorry for being the “worst father” and the “worst partner”. The messages also consisted of things like he will give preference to her and their children, and that he “instantly hated” himself for what he did to her.
But days later on October 24, when Duckmanton was working in the kitchen, she heard Lucas crying. The kid was in the lounge room with McDonald, who was playing PlayStation and when his partner asked about the child, he responded saying he was “swaddling him”. Also, the kid’s mother assumed Lucas’ wailing was the result of his vaccinations, which he got that morning. But the child’s condition deteriorated overnight and Duckmanton took him to Benalla hospital’s emergency ward from where he was shifted to the Monash Children's Hospital. Later, he was declared dead on October 29.
At the time, when hospital staff informed the mother that the injuries on Lucas did not seem like an accident, Duckmanton questioned McDonald, who told her he had struck violently on the back of the victim’s brain stem. After confessing it, the man escaped the hospital, which led to a state-wide manhunt. But police prosecutor Mark Gibson said that McDonald’s confession was wrong as he cited court medical evidence which stated that Lucas’ injuries were consistent with shaking or blunt force trauma. The evidence suggested that the baby died due to the hit he suffered directly on the head or McDonald forced his head to hit an object.
Duckmanton, devastated by the death of her son, spoke about the baby in the court. In a victim impact statement, she stated: “I instantly fell in love. You have completely broken my trust — you have absolutely betrayed me. Lucas deserved to feel safe and protected by his daddy. You do not deserve forgiveness — nor do you deserve the title of daddy.” The man’s sentencing is expected to happen later this month.
In another incident, a man was charged with murder for allegedly pressurizing his girlfriend’s minor son out of a car on Sunday night, November 29, which resulted in his death. Bryan Starr allegedly forced five-year-old Austin Birdseye to deboard the car for his “misbehavior” on the dark, rainy night. The 35-year-old accused told investigators that when he and the kid were traveling along busy Alabama Highway 165 near Fort Mitchell, Birdseye became “unruly” and due to which he stopped his Dodge Charger over into the St. John’s AME Church parking lot at 944 Alabama 165 and forced Birdseye to step outside the vehicle. But when the child got out of the car, he was reportedly hit by another car on Highway 165 near County Road 24 at around eight in the evening. He was soon taken to the Piedmont Columbus Regional hospital, where he was declared dead.