Father kills one-year-old son by slamming him against bedhead and repeatedly punching him
21-month-old Corby Mitchell died from brain injuries in the hospital just two days after his father, 37-year-old Shane Purssell Akehurst, threw him violently against the wooden frame of a bed in the family home in March 2015
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
A father from Queensland, Australia, who killed his toddler son by slamming the child against a bedhead, used to reportedly punch the child on the head often if he called out during the night, a shocked court heard. The man's violent actions culminated in 21-month-old Corby Mitchell's death. The toddler died from brain injuries in the hospital just two days after his father, 37-year-old Shane Purssell Akehurst, threw him violently against the wooden frame of a bed in the family home on March 25, 2015. Corby's aunt Tanya is demanding that the judge gives Akehurst a life sentence. She and some other family members sat through the sentencing submission, which she said made her sick.
The entire incident has also torn the family apart with Tanya no longer speaking to her sister, who is Corby's mother, because of the court case. She said: "I don't class them as family anymore." News.com.au reported that the child had been alone with his father at their isolated rural family home in the Sunshine Coast while the rest of the family had been away shopping. The Brisbane Supreme Court heard on March 11 that the violent impact on the baby's head was so strong that it immediately caused whiplash and his eyes to bleed internally.
In spite of all the efforts of the paramedics at the scene of the crime and the doctors at the hospital after, Corby was declared brain dead and his life support system was switched off on March 27, 2015. Father-of-three Akehurst pleaded guilty to manslaughter in January this year. He also admitted to one torture charge that stemmed from multiple assaults on his son from November 2014 onwards.
After the attack on Corby, Akehurst initially told the police that he had found his child on the bedroom floor and dialed 000 after he attempted to resuscitate him. The man admitted later that he had thrown Corby angrily at the bed with the intention to cause the baby pain. Akehurst also told the authorities that he threw his son against the bed with "probably everything I had". An autopsy of the child later confirmed 81 separate injuries.
Prosecutor Mark Green said that the injuries to the child included crushed ribs that were a few weeks old and wouldn't have occurred during regular play. Akehurst told the authorities that he felt Corby's ribs "pop" after he allegedly gave his son "a really good squeeze". The child also had a missing fingernail and multiple facial injuries that indicated blunt force trauma was caused on many occasions.
Little Corby's penis and scrotum were also found to be bruised and the skin was broken which, according to Green, meant that this was probably caused by forceful pinching. Akehurst told the investigators that he had anger management problems and it caused him to lose control at times. Green said that the father resented Corby, who was reportedly receiving more attention from his wife then their older son and daughter. He said: "He felt if he punished the child he would be punishing his wife."
Akehurst also admitted to punching Corby on the head on several occasions when the child woke up in the middle of the night and called out to his mother. Green said that the authorities had been told: "After that, the child just stared at him."
Defense attorney Robert East said that the father's relationship with his youngest child suffered because of his heavy work roster, which ended up keeping him away from his family for three weeks in a month. He also mentioned that despite their rural lifestyle the family was struggling financially. East said that the former hard-working heavy machinery operator was also reportedly recovering from an operation that was done to remove a brain tumor and as a result of all the anger issues stemming from his condition, their finances, his relationship etc. he took it out on the poor, defenseless baby
Tanya told The Sunshine Coast Daily: "We're just down here to try and get justice for Corby, I don't believe he should be out in four years. I don't understand how they get to do all that and still get parole. He needs life, but we all know that won't happen in this justice system. A life for a life." Akehurst is scheduled to be sentenced later in March.