Sins of a monster dad who tortured toddler son to death
CORBY Akehurst never knew what he'd done to deserve being squeezed so tightly his ribs popped and broke.
It was late-December, 2014, after Christmas, before his dad, Shane Purssell Akehurst flew back to Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory for work, when the torture began.
When his FIFO father was home he would walk through the 21-month-old, knocking him over, or smack him harder than he should.
Then it escalated.
A cyclone kept Akehurst at home for a month in January, 2015.
It was a month of terror for the blonde-haired little boy who, apart from his 81 injuries, was otherwise healthy.
He was squeezed weekly by Akehurst, who told detectives he believed his son would've been in excruciating pain each time.
More ribs were popped and broken.
QUEENSLAND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICES
Reprieve came when Akehurst returned to work, but by March Corby was being brutalised again.
The toddler was restless during the night of March 23, calling out during the night.
Akehurst went into the room, sat beside his son as he lay on his back looking up at him, and punched Corby in the face with a closed fist in the eye and nose.
Akehurst told police during his interviews Corby looked dazed, then went off to sleep.
The next night Akehurst again went to his son, as Corby called out for his mum.
While Corby looked at him Akehurst punched him in the face twice.
Dazed, Corby settled off to sleep, while Akehurst told his wife the bruising had been caused by Corby falling off the bed the previous Sunday.
Ninderry MP Dan Purdie was a detective sergeant with the Caloundra Child Protection and Investigation Unit at the time.
He was one of the four-person investigation and arrest team that worked the case, and conducted interviews with Akehurst at Lady Cilento Children's Hospital, as Corby lie brain dead.
He prepared the police objection to bail and said the case and Akehurst's confessions would stick with him forever.
Corby's short life was filled with terror and pain inflicted by the hands of his own father, the man meant to protect him.
His death was violent and callous.
Akehurst told police his son had fallen off the bed a few days before and on March 25, 2015, he found Corby in bed, sweating, stiff, his eyes rolled back and he was unconscious.
He got his son into a cold shower and tried to revive him, calling 000 and attempting CPR.
Paramedics arrived to the Eastern Branch Road, Kin Kin property, where Corby, Akehurst, Corby's mum and two siblings lived, about 4pm.
The truth about Corby's death eventually came out, by way of confession.
Corby had kept getting out of bed during what was meant to be his afternoon sleep, on March 25.
Akehurst was home alone with his son, who he told police he had never bonded with.
Akehurst slapped Corby and told him to shut up and go to sleep.
Corby continued to get out of bed.
Grabbing Corby, he threw the little boy with all his force towards the bed.
Corby's head slammed into the timber wall behind his bed and he began convulsing.
He was flown to hospital, but in vain, and his life support was switched off a few days later.
The medical opinion given was that in the days leading up to his death, Corby was suffering from infections and would've been lethargic and unwell, possibly suffering chest pains and difficulty breathing.
He'd suffered multiple injuries on numerous occasions, and it was a severe, traumatic brain injury that had killed him.
He also had injuries to his scrotum consistent with squeezing or blunt force trauma that were never explained during Akehurst's police interviews, but were accepted as part of the torture by his defence lawyers.
Akehurst pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter and one count of torture in Brisbane Supreme Court and was due to be sentenced next week, after submissions on sentencing were heard by both sides on Monday.