Detective shares 'behind the scenes' of baby Lattrell's death
AS A convicted baby killer considers his bleak future of spending at least the next five years in prison, law professionals urge the community to keep their eyes on other children at risk.
Detective Acting Inspector Paul Elliot, who was involved in the investigation of the sudden death of 12-week-old Lattrell Dodd in 2013, along with Queensland Law Society President Bill Potts, spoke about the need for the community to report suspected child abuse to authorities and child protection agencies.
Rockhampton newborn Lattrell Dodd died on May 31, 2013. He had been subjected to repeated violence upon his little body resulting in seven skull fractures and 32 other fractures at the time of his death.
Lattrell had been in the care of relative Tanya Dodd for two months before his biological father, Christopher Allan Holland, and his biological mother, Megan Freeman, forcefully took the infant from the safe and caring home of Ms Dodd to an intravenous drug user's home awash with violence, alcohol and drugs for 31 days until his death.
Two community nurses attempted to see Lattrell during this period, but were unsuccessful.
Holland called Queensland Ambulance Service when his son struggled to breathe. Paramedics, after assessing Lattrell, called police and Lattrell ended up in Lady Cilento Hospital where he died.
On Thursday, Holland was sentenced to 10 years' prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter. He had spent 1257 days in pre-sentence custody and has to serve at least eight years of the 10-year sentence.
Inspector Elliot spoke with the media after Holland's sentence.
"It's been years and years of hard work and dedication by members of ... not only the Rockhampton (Child Protection Investigation Unit) but people from Crime Command and the Child Trauma Taskforce who assisted us greatly in getting this result," he said on Thursday.
"I would like to take the opportunity here to thank the community members, the police, people from other government sectors such as Queensland Health that assisted us in the investigation and ultimately the (Director of Public Prosecutions) who prosecuted the matter today.
"I think today's sentencing actually brought out a very important fact for the community of Rockhampton, and not only the community of Rockhampton but every community, is that people who take on the parental role as being parents need to adhere to some sort of community standard and in this case the community standard was neglected - which resulted in today's sentence.
"I think everybody needs to be responsible for their own actions and in this case, the significant amount of trauma which was suffered by this young child over this period of time in his very short life ... people need to be made aware this sort of stuff does go on and they need to be in a position to report stuff to their local police or other agencies who deal with child protection matters to ensure there is no repeat of this sort of incident within this community or any community in Queensland.
"Police investigate a lot of instances of abuse and neglect on a daily basis. People who fail to adhere to community standards that are respected by the normal person, they will be investigated by the police and other agencies within the child safety system."
He also thanked the people who turned up to court for the sentencing - particularly Tanya Dodd - to support young Lattrell.
Mr Potts, talking to The Morning Bulletin, urged people to be "good neighbours" and report suspected neglect or abuse of children to authorities to save lives of defenceless, vulnerable children like Lattrell.