The harrowing last moments of a baby boy’s life have been heard in court, during which his father was furious over a missing soft drink.
A Mildura man who admitted to killing his six-month-old son was in “some sort of rage” over a missing soft drink when he shook the boy to death in a desperate bid to stop him from crying, a court was told.
Evander Wilson, 21, earlier pleaded guilty to one charge of child homicide over the death of his son Jakobi Wilson on April 11 last year.
The harrowing moments leading up to Jakobi’s death were heard in the Supreme Court of Victoria on Monday, including the moment Mr Wilson realised his son was sitting unresponsive in his car seat.
The court was told Mr Wilson was furious when Jakobi’s death occurred because the bottle of soft drink he was expecting had not arrived with the pizza he ordered.
While his rage was not directed at his son and instead at his partner and Jakobi’s mother, Chelsea Smith, it was “unwarranted”, Crown Prosecutor Neill Hutton said.
“Although it was jiggling and shaking while the child was on the knee, the accused was in some sort of rage,” he told the court.
“The mother had asked the accused whether she could tend to the child because Mr Wilson was in an angry state. He owed a duty of care.”
Mr Wilson’s barrister, Sam Andrianakis, said the young father tried to stop his son from crying by putting the Hulk on television.
“Jakobi continued crying … he wasn’t usually a crier,” Mr Andrianakis said.
“He shook Jakobi up and down on his knees in frustration to stop his crying.”
Mr Wilson had just placed Jakobi in a car seat when he noticed he had become silent, the court was told. He asked his son whether he was going to sleep.
“Even though Jakobi was so young, if either parent addressed him he would grunt or make a sound but there was nothing,” Mr Andrianakis.
Mr Wilson then picked up his son to see if he were breathing before calling an ambulance.
Mr Andrianakis argued the defendant played an active role while on the phone to ambulance services before relaying instructions to Ms Smith.
Jakobi was rushed to hospital in Mildura but died.
“He didn’t intend to cause harm, but acted in a criminally negligent way,” Mr Andrianakis said.
“He only blames himself.
“I’ll be relying on the context (of the incident). I acknowledge it’s a serious offence, but at the lower end of the scale re: child homicide offending when you compare it to other cases of this offence.”
Mr Andrianakis said the offence was “fleeting” and Mr Wilson genuinely regretted his offending. He told the court the defendant was having night terrors, including one where he told Ms Smith he had “taken their son away”.
“He can’t get the image of Jakobi on the hospital bed out of his mind,” he said.
He also noted Mr Wilson’s remorse was indicated in his early plea.
While Mr Hutton accepted there was some level of remorse, he rejected other claims and said the level of moral culpability for offending was not at the lower end.
“Jakobi was a very small, young child. The death occurred in a violent context, although not directed at Jakobi,” he said, before acknowledging both parents took “significant efforts” to assist their son.
Mr Wilson’s long history of drug abuse and challenging upbringing were also tendered in court.
“My submission is that he wasn’t equipped to deal with the situation he found himself in that day,” Mr Andrianakis said.
“His childhood was marred by physical and physiological abuse.”
However, Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth questioned whether Mr Wilson was remorseful when there was suggestion he had made comments such as “Chelsea dropped the baby” before he was arrested.
“It was disgusting to say those things in the context of what’s happened,” she said.
Mr Andrianakis said: “He places no blame on Ms Smith. He said she was a very good mother”.
“But is there evidence of his remorse?” Justice Hollingworth probed.
“Yes, he told Jakobi he was sorry. And had a nightmare about taking his son away,” Mr Andrianakis responded.
The Crown agreed given Mr Wilson’s age there was room for rehabilitation.
Mr Wilson case will be back in court on Tuesday afternoon.