Brodie Preston receives life term

In a dramatic twist just half-an-hour into the third day of his trial for the murders of Jason Schaepman and his 18-month-old brother Riley, Preston, 21, changed his plea from not guilty to guilty on the murder of Jason.

He maintained his plea of guilty to the manslaughter of Riley.

Justice Glenn Martin could impose only one penalty - life imprisonment.

Ordinarily, those serving life sentences are eligible for parole after 15 years, but Preston had already served 570 days (about 19 months) custody since his arrest on July 29, 2007, leaving him with just more than 13 years to serve.

A life sentence is 25 years with 15 years set as the minimum.

He was sentenced to eight years jail for Riley's manslaughter, to be served concurrently.

The court heard Preston had no previous criminal history at all.

He had never confessed to what actually occurred at the family's Sharon Court unit on July 28, 2007, and initially denied hurting the children in any way.

The first time he accepted responsibility for killing Jason and Riley was on Monday, the first day of his trial, when he pleaded guilty to their manslaughter.

However, at his sentence yesterday, Crown prosecutor Vicki Loury outlined what police believed took place.

Riley had been bashed and stomped on at the family unit while Jason and his mother Katrina were out shopping between 11.30am and 1pm. Katrina returned to find Riley asleep in his cot.

She went out again, but, when she returned to find Riley still asleep at 3pm, she rushed him to St Vincent's Hospital where he died.

Among his injuries, which included multiple bruising to his head and body, Riley had patterned bruising to his lower neck and chest caused by the pattern of his singlet so severely had he been stomped on.

That force had been applied by a “squared object” leading forensic investigators to ascertain Riley had been stomped on while lying on a hard surface, probably the floor.

Among a range of internal injuries, Riley had a ruptured liver causing bleeding into his abdominal cavity.

Ms Loury said, that at the time of death, Riley had lost half of his blood volume which led to his sleepiness but that would not have been apparent to a non-medical person like his mother.

Tragically, expert medical opinion was that Riley could have been saved if treatment had been sought soon after the injuries were inflicted.

While Katrina rushed Riley to hospital, Jason had been left with Preston because the utility Katrina was driving only had two bucket seats.

It appeared Jason had dirtied his nappy and Preston had most likely placed him into a hot water bath, scalding his lower legs.

Jason had then been struck to the head, leaving a chequered pattern from Preston's watch band on either side of his forehead.

A cut lip and loose tooth were consistent with being punched and a split to the skin between the upper lip and gum was consistent with being struck to the side of the head.

He had abrasions and bruising to his neck, upper back, and a fractured right wrist consistent with Jason putting out his hand when falling.

However, the most telling blow had been a stomp which had been administered with such force that it ruptured his liver and caused a tear to his heart.

Jason had injuries to his left kidney, small intestine and left adrenal gland.

Ms Loury said Jason would have died within minutes and was probably dying or already dead when a friend of Preston's arrived at the unit and knocked on the front door.

However, Preston had not answered the door nor sought help for Jason until speaking with Katrina later that afternoon. She told him to call an ambulance when he said Jason was vomiting.

Justice Martin said the death of any child was tragic, but to have one's only two children die on the same day was simply difficult to comprehend.


* Schaepman double tragedy in court

* Accused told police he kicked boy

* Mum tells of tragic final hours

* Brothers stomped to death

Source : https://www.thechronicle.com.au/news/killer-shows-no-emotion-at-life-term/171828/

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