Hemi Les Burke was bashed to death by his babysitter Matthew James Ireland in 2015.
Hemi Les Burke was bashed to death by his babysitter Matthew James Ireland in 2015. Contributed

Man who killed NQ toddler makes bid for freedom

THE parents of Hemi Goodwin-Burke feel like their lives have been ripped apart yet again after learning their son's killer has applied for parole.

Gripped by raw emotion Kerri-Ann Goodwin couldn't hold back the tears.

"I thought a life would be worth a lot more," she said.

"It's an utter disgrace."

 

The parents of Hemi Goodwin-Bourke, Shane Burke and Kerri-Ann Goodwin.
The parents of Hemi Goodwin-Bourke, Shane Burke and Kerri-Ann Goodwin. Liam Kidston

Matthew James Ireland, who relentlessly bashed the 18-month-old Moranbah tot to death over several hours in March 2015, has spent barely four years of an eight and a half year sentence in jail for manslaughter.

His parole eligibility date is May 24 - today.

However, about half that time was spent on remand meaning he was not able to participate in any rehabilitation programs offered through the jail.

 

Matthew James Ireland was jailed for eight and a half years for manslaughter.
Matthew James Ireland was jailed for eight and a half years for manslaughter. Contributed

The couple were informed this afternoon that Ireland, also a father, had applied for freedom and they plan to appeal to the Parole Board to keep the convicted child killer locked up for a bit longer.

"We believe that he poses a danger. He beat and killed one of the most vulnerable people in our society," Hemi's father Shane Burke said.

"Four years jail is not enough for a child killer."

Mr Burke said he was still haunted by the fact that a man he'd known for 10 years was capable of such a vile act.

 

The casket of Hemi Les Burke, who was killed in Moranbah in 2015.
The casket of Hemi Les Burke, who was killed in Moranbah in 2015.

"How could I not have known, how could I not have seen," he said.

"We just don't trust people any more."

Hemi's parents have 21 days after receiving the letter about Ireland's parole application to send their own letter to the Parole Board pleading their case - and they want to do it in person.

 

Hemi Goodwin-Burke was killed by his babysitter in 2015 in Moranbah.
Hemi Goodwin-Burke was killed by his babysitter in 2015 in Moranbah. Goodwin-Burke Family

A Parole Board spokesman said when making decisions the board was guided by the Ministerial Guidelines to the Parole Board Queensland.

"The Board considers all of the material before it, including submissions made by victims and their families, and makes decisions based on the evidence in accordance with the Guidelines," he said.

"When the Board decides a prisoner should be granted parole, they determine what conditions the prisoner should be subject to reduce their risk of re-offending."

 

Shane Burke and Kerri-Ann Goodwin in front of a Justice for Hemi banner.
Shane Burke and Kerri-Ann Goodwin in front of a Justice for Hemi banner. Madura McCormack


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