UPDATE: The Victorian Coroner has ruled the death of Luke Batty a “tragic loss of a young life” but says authorities cannot be blamed for the tragedy.
11-year-old Luke Batty was murdered at the Tyabb cricket ground south-east of Melbourne on February 12, 2014 after his father, Greg Anderson, hit him with a cricket bat and stabbed him as he lay on the ground.
The attack occurred in front of other families, including Batty’s team-mates and their younger siblings.
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Police attended the scene and 54-year-old Anderson was eventually shot dead by police.
Coroner Ian Gray said the incident was “not reasonably foreseeable” by his mother or Victoria’s child protection agencies.
“No one could be expected to see that Mr Anderson would be that rare perpetrator and Luke that rare victim,” Mr Gray said in handing down his report this morning.
“Responsibility lies solely with Mr Anderson.”
The coroner said it was impossible to know the reasons why Luke’s father killed him.
But he accepted mother Rosie Batty’s explanation that it was an attempt to “exert control” as the boy grew apart from his abusive father.
He had heard evidence Anderson was suffering from a delusional disorder and was able to “switch between rational and irrational behaviours and presentations”.
Luke was not afraid of his father but as he grew older he “managed his relationship with his father carefully”, the coroner said.
“Luke was described as a loving and loveable child … and, by his own account, Luke loved his father,” he said.
The coroner said that Ms Batty was “a compelling witness” and “a loving, caring and thoughtful mother”.
He said that Ms Batty had “played a constructive role in the inquest” and made a number of recommendations.
Senior police who gave evidence to the coronial inquest said their officers acted properly and Anderson was rated at the low end of a risk scale before that fatal day.
The inquest also heard from Luke’s mum Rosie Batty, who became a tireless anti-domestic violence campaigner and was named 2015 Australian of the Year.
Anderson had four outstanding arrest warrants and two intervention orders when he was shot dead.
He faced charges of assaulting Ms Batty, possessing child pornography and failing to front court.