Updated 14 February 2014

Young cricketer stabbed to death by father

An 11 year-old boy has died of head injuries after being brutally attacked by his mentally ill father in Melbourne, Australia.

Luke Batty, a grade 6 student at Flinders Christian Community College in Tyabb, Australia, had just finished cricket practice when his father attacked and killed him. The incident took place on the evening of Thursday 13 February.

The child is believed to have been struck across the head before being knifed and killed by his father, 54-year-old Greg Anderson.

Paramedics threatened with knife

Paramedics arrived at the scene but were unable to revive Luke, according to the Guardian. Police told the Australian Associated Press that Mr Batty threatened paramedics with a knife and started screaming "shoot me" when officers arrived at the scene.

Police tried to subdue Batty’s father by spraying him with capsicum foam, but he attacked them with a knife, forcing them to employ lethal force (they shot him once in the chest) in order to protect themselves and members of the public. He later died in hospital.

Luke's mother Rosie Batty, who is originally from England, was at the cricket ground when her son was killed.

According to Mrs Batty, her estranged husband was homeless and had been struggling with mental illness for 11 years. She described him as “desperate".

Read: the effects of mental illness on the family

Recounting the horrific incident to the Herald Sun, she added: “It was just a normal cricket practice and most of the kids and their parents had gone.

“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 yes, sure, that’s OK.

A calculated act

“There’s no reason for me to be concerned, there was no reason to be concerned, I thought it was in an open environment – that’s something I have to understand.

“Police have suggested it was a calculated act that would have occurred at some point and I’m not to blame myself.”

Read: What fuels family murder?

A restraining order prevented Mr Anderson from visiting Mrs. Batty, but he was allowed to attend cricket practice as it was a public place. The restraining order had been in place since 2012 after Anderson threatened to kill Mrs Batty and attacked her with a glass vase.

In the wake of the incident, Children’s Commissioner Mike Greary urged Melbourne residents to remember that only a very small percentage of mentally ill people are violent.

The statement stemmed from concerns that the incident would generate prejudice towards the mental health community and hinder rehabilitation efforts.

Discussion: Was the Norwegian mass-murderer sane?

Five outstanding warrants

The day after the incident occurred it was revealed that the local police’s IT system may have contributed to the incident. Anderson had been questioned by police a few days prior about another assault in the area but due to the paper-based reporting system being used the officers were unaware that there were five outstanding warrants for Anderson’s arrest.

Had this information been available to them it is likely that Anderson would have been in custody on the night he killed his son.

Sources: The Guardian, Sydney Morning Herald

Read more:

Murder and suicide top medical deaths during pregnancy
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Do more gun laws equal fewer gun deaths?

Image credit: Luke Batty, Facebook

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