WARNING – GRAPHIC CONTENT: Queensland toddler Mason Jett Lee’s lifeless body was riddled with broken bones, ruptured organs and leaked faecal matter.
The man who killed Caboolture toddler Mason Jet Lee has been sentenced to nine years in prison, after the 22-month-old died a “slow and painful death” in 2016, the Queensland Supreme Court has heard, reports ABC news.
He will be eligible for parole in four years.
William Andrew O’Sullivan pleaded guilty to four charges before the Queensland Supreme Court in Brisbane last week, including manslaughter and cruelty to a child under 16 years old — but due to legal reasons it was unable to be reported until now.
During the 37-year-old’s sentence hearing, O’Sullivan’s lawyer Ruth O’Gorman said he admitted for the first time that he was responsible for inflicting the blow or blows which eventually led to the death of Mason between two to five days later in June 2016.
O’Sullivan, who was the child’s stepfather and primary carer at the time of his death, ignored obvious signs Mason was in pain and failed to seek urgent medical care.
The court heard Mason endured serious neglect, including in the months prior where he was left untreated for a fractured leg and other serious injuries.
In sentencing, Chief Justice Catherine Holmes said although Mason’s condition would have been “wretched and painful”, O’Sullivan did nothing to help him.
“He was a defenceless toddler and you seemed to have taken out your anger and frustration against him by the assault that caused the fatal injuries,” Justice Holmes said.
“He was not treated with any gentleness or kindness. Worse, you did nothing to get help for him despite what would have been his evident distress.”
The court heard an autopsy identified widespread bruising to Mason’s forehead, chest and abdomen, a broken tailbone, and traces of methamphetamine in his blood.
A teenager accused of child cruelty in relation to the death of Queensland toddler Mason Lee has walked free after the charges against him were dropped, reports 9 news.
Ryan Robert Barry Hodson was expected to plead guilty in Brisbane Supreme Court today his case was adjourned and then dropped.
Crown prosecutor Vicki Loury was unable to convince Justice David Jackson that Mason was in Mr Hodson’s lawful care or that the 21-month-old was hurt by the then 17-year-old.
Police prosecutor Aaron Murray had previously told the court there were no allegations Mr Hodson had physically abused Mason but said he clearly showed “no care, compassion or consideration in any way”.
Mason’s mother Anne Maree Lee, and stepfather William Andrew O’Sullivan stand accused of manslaughter and child cruelty.
Previous news on this story…
A report into Mason Lee’s death finds gross negligence on behalf of the Department of Child Safety and its staff in their failed protection of the toddler.
The Courier-Mail can reveal the secret, internal report, found gross malpractice at Caboolture’s Child Safety Office and systemic issues within the department itself.
Ms Fentiman, the Child Commissioner and Mason’s family were yesterday briefed on the Systems and Practice Review.
Opposition Child Safety spokeswoman Ros Bates accused Ms Fentiman of keeping the report secret because the findings were so “politically explosive”.
She said the contents would “shock Queenslanders to the core” as the LNP made a bid to have the document released under Right to Information laws.
“Clearly the report is so damning and explosive the Palaszczuk Government is going to extreme lengths to keep it secret,” Ms Bates said.
She said Queenslanders had lost confidence in the state’s child-protection system.
NINE NEWS report, three Queensland child safety staff have been stood down and another nine are facing disciplinary action.
The trio were stood down with pay over “serious errors of judgment” pending an ethical standards investigation into their handling of the case.
Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman announced action had been taken against the departmental staff following a review into the 21-month-old’s death.
Ms Fentiman said she was “deeply concerned and angered” by some findings of the 300-page report.
“This report highlights that there were serious errors of judgment and legislation policy and practice was not followed,” she said on Wednesday.
“The allegations against those three staff are serious enough for them to be stood down immediately.”
28 November 2016
Further investigation into the death of toddler Mason Jet Lee has resulted in a fourth child protection worker being stood down by Queensland’s Child Safety and Disability Services Department, reports ABC.
Queensland’s Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman last week stood down three staff who had worked on the Mason Lee case and referred a further nine to the ethnical standards branch after she was handed a report into the department’s interactions with the child’s family.
The fourth person was one of the nine staffers, and was stood down on the advice of the ethnical standards branch.
The suspensions followed a report suggesting child safety workers made serious errors of judgement in the case.
Previous UPDATE 4 November 2016
New details of Mason’s tragic final hours emerged in Caboolture Magistrates Court yesterday (Thursday, 3 November) when William O’Sullivan applied for bail and was refused.
The court heard that Mason Lee was left home alone with a five-year-old boy for more than an hour on the night he died while his stepfather, William O’Sullivan, went out for sex, a court was told, reports Courier Mail.
Prosecutor Sergeant Liesl Stephenson said O’Sullivan changed his story several times about what happened the night Mason died but police have evidence the toddler was left home alone as he lay dying.
Police allege O’Sullivan left the children alone and drove to where Mason’s mother was living so they could have sex. He returned later with a friend.
“CCTV footage shows the defendant leave the children unsupervised after 10pm on the night of Mason’s death,” she told the court. “He returned with his friend about 11.30pm.”
Only an hour later, Sgt Stephenson said, paramedics arrived to find Mason dead.
“No medical attention is sought for Mason in the time between receiving the injury and his death,” she said.
“In fact, the defendant goes so far in his disregard for Mason’s care and wellbeing as to, on one occasion, rub Mason’s face in his own vomit.”
Sgt Stephenson said O’Sullivan took a photograph of the toddler, a puppy lying on his neck and vomit beside him, and texted it to a number of people. “He takes the time to photograph a 21-month-old Mason dying in vomit,” she said. “That’s the extent of care that this defendant has shown to a child who is clearly dying.”
Magistrate James Blanch refused O’Sullivan bail, saying he was safer in prison, given the community outrage over Mason’s death.
Previously on this story…
Mason’s beaten and swollen body was lifted from his stepfather’s Caboolture home, in Brisbane on June 11. Mason’s mother Anne-Maree Lee, 37, her partner and Mason’s stepfather William O’Sullivan, and Mr O’Sullivan’s roommate Ryan Hodson, 17, are all facing charges over his death.
He was only 21 months old when his tiny body sustained gruesome injuries and bruises “head to toe”.
“Two police and two ambos did their jobs and then they all just dropped to the gutter. There were ambos sobbing,” a neighbour told News Corp.
“They had to be taken away. They couldn’t deal with what they had seen.”
Paramedics allegedly found Mason covered in vomit, wearing a faeces-stained singlet.
Underneath the singlet his abdomen, arms and legs were battered, bruised and scarred, the document states.
Blood had pooled around his neck and ears indicating he had already been dead some hours. A bruise had swallowed his eye and the rest of his skin was glazed, red and puffy.
Organs were ripped from his abdominal cavity and his arms appeared to be ruptured.
The boy’s anus had been torn open. A police affidavit obtained by the Courier Mail revealed.
A post-mortem examination revealed Mason had a broken coccyx and a healing fracture in his leg.
The tissue between the scalp and skull was separated, which it is believed to be from “forceful” pulling of his hair.
A tear in Mason’s small intestine caused faecal matter to leak into his abdomen, making him sick for days before an infection began to slowly kill him.
Image via Courier Mail
Investigations are continuing as prosecutors try to find out who inflicted the shocking injuries, one of which includes the rupturing of Mason’s small intestine that allegedly lead to his death.
Lee allegedly was in an abusive relationship with but O’Sullivan had planned to leave.
It was alleged her partner had refused her access to see her child.
The Courier Mail reports, Minister for Child Safety Shannon Fentiman said the Government was working to restore frontline services and called on anyone with information on Mason’s death to talk to police.
“The death of any child is a tragedy,” she said.
“Every child deserves love and care. Sadly, that is not the reality for every child.”
Share your comments below.
- Mason Lee’s mother “coming to terms with the loss of her child”
- Tragic final moments of little Mason Jet Lee revealed
- Teen accused of toddler Mason Lee’s manslaughter claims he’s petrified
- MORE heartbreaking details revealed on toddler’s manslaughter