Christopher Allan Holland has been sentenced to a decade in jail in central Queensland for killing his baby boy, who suffered for a month before his death and ultimately died from being violently shaken.
- Father pleaded guilty to manslaughter, mother pleaded guilty to child cruelty
- Holland was one of a group who inflicted “protracted” violence against his son
- The boy had been in safe care with extended family but was forcibly taken back by his parents
Lattrell Dodd succumbed to significant brain injuries and 32 fractures, including seven to his skull, more than a dozen broken ribs, and a broken femur.
Prosecutors said the three-month-old was also severely malnourished, with poor fat stores, when they were called to the Rockhampton home in May 2013.
Lattrell was flown to Brisbane for treatment but died a week later.
Holland, who is in his mid-30s, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced today in the Supreme Court in Rockhampton.
Lattrell’s mother, Megan Jean Freeman, pleaded guilty to child cruelty in March and will be eligible for parole in September.
The court heard Lattrell had been in safe care with aunty, Tanya Dodd, but Holland and Freeman “forcibly” took him.
Holland and Freeman’s home was not safe, they had been drinking and taking drugs and the home’s owner was an intravenous drug user.
Justice Graeme Crow said Holland was one of a group who inflicted “protracted” violence against his son over a month before his death.
A number of exhibits were shown in court, including photographs of the deceased baby with an obvious deformity to his left femur which had been broken.
“The child was the victim of some deliberate violence and accidental … by more than one perpetrator,” Justice Crow said in sentencing Holland.
“You not only, to some extent, joined in the violence … you declined the visit of two health professionals coming to check on him.
“The extent of the injuries are quite extraordinary. This is a bad example of manslaughter through neglect.
“The fact that some unidentified violence was perpetrated by you upon Lattrell is very significant.”
Justice Crow said Holland was criminally negligent for failing to protect Lattrell and seek medical treatment when he was in obvious need.
However, the fact Holland was the one to call the ambulance for the child, and his early plea of guilty were in his favour in sentencing.
Aunty tried to save Lattrell
The court heard Ms Dodd had provided a safe home for Lattrell and tried to save the boy once he was taken away.
“She [Ms Dodd] did what she could, she enlisted the assistance of police and was making some progress to safeguard Lattrell, however sadly it was too late,” Justice Crow said.
Ms Dodd rose to her feet from in the public gallery during proceedings and screamed out: “Give him the death penalty. He deserves to die! Why did you kill Lattrell? You dog, you f****** scum.”
She spoke outside court, saying she will always remember Lattrell in her “heart and soul”.
“I’m pretty happy with the sentence and outcome but I believe the death penalty should be brought in for people who abuse and murder children,” she said.
“Why should we let them have a life after they killed a baby?”
Holland had a lengthy criminal history which began with violent acts when he was 15.
His defence counsel, Frank Richards, said his client had “reflected long and hard on the events leading up to his son’s death”.
“He’s expressed remorse, he wished things could be different,” he said.
“It was Mr Holland who ultimately determined that his son was ill and insisted that an ambulance be called and attempted to resuscitate his son.”