Boy, 11, beaten to death with cricket bat by father at oval in Australia

Mother just metres away as estranged husband is then shot dead by police at small town's oval

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 February, 2014, 1:05am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 February, 2014, 8:58am

A mother spoke of her shock yesterday after her estranged husband beat their 11-year-old son to death with a cricket bat before being shot dead by police in Australia.

Luke Batty was killed after training with his junior cricket team on Wednesday evening at the Tyabb oval on the Mornington Peninsula, 100 kilometres southeast of Melbourne.

It was a cricket practice. There were people there. I believed he was safe

He suffered significant injuries and died at the scene. Media reports said the boy was also stabbed, although this could not be confirmed.

Police said they arrived to find the father Greg, 54, armed with a knife. When pepper spray failed to subdue him, he was shot once in the chest. He was flown to hospital, but died yesterday.

"I confirm that the male shot by police is the father of the child who is deceased and we're not looking for anyone else," said police commander Doug Fryer.

"I can say the injuries are significant, quite brutal, and clearly they caused his death, but I can't go into exactly what they were."

The tragedy left mother Rosie Batty, originally from Britain, traumatised. She was just metres away when the attack took place.

She said that her estranged husband had a history of mental illness and was the subject of an apprehended violence order, but it allowed him to visit the boy at his cricket training.

"It was just a cricket practice. There were people there. I believed he was safe," she said.

She added there were no signs her estranged husband would ever hurt their son, who was their only child.

"Luke came to me and said, 'Could I have a few more minutes with my dad?' because he doesn't see him very often and I said, 'Sure, okay'."

She added: "I'm still dealing with disbelief. I want to tell everybody that family violence happens to everybody, no matter how nice your house is, no matter how intelligent you are.

"It happens to anyone and everyone and this has been an 11-year battle."

Fryer said there were multiple witnesses to the boy's death, including other children and parents, who were being interviewed by police.

Tyabb is a small community of just 3,300 people and the events had left it devastated, Fryer added.