The house in Warwick where three-year-old Kenneth John Pyke was found dead in March 1990.
The house in Warwick where three-year-old Kenneth John Pyke was found dead in March 1990. The Chronicle Archives

KILLER TEENS: Babysitter's fatal frustration

A TRUSTED teenage babysitter got so frustrated with a Warwick toddler he threw his tiny body against a wall and knelt on him.

He was 14. His victim, Kenneth John Pyke, was three years old.

The deadly abuse was over two days.

Kenneth's tiny lifeless body was found inside a Warwick home on Tuesday, February 27, 1990, his mother having left him in the care of a "family friend".

She had been in Toowoomba with her two-year-old daughter at a medical appointment, and left her other children in the care of the teenager, as she had done on previous occasions.

Little Kenneth's injuries were so severe and numerous his official cause of death was not immediately apparent to investigators.

It was later found Kenneth had died from internal bleeding from a ruptured bowel.

Externally, police also said his body had shown "signs of human bite marks and severe bruising", and cigarette burns.

Three of Kenneth's siblings were taken to hospital for treatment and, days after the horrific incident, with the little boy's twin brother reported to be in a "satisfactory condition".

At least one of his sisters, aged four at the time, had suffered welt marks on her back and side.

A seven-day trial in the Brisbane Supreme Court was told the 14-year-old (who was 15 at the time of the trial) had lost his temper with the children in his care - Kenneth and his twin, a four-year-old girl, and a baby.

"The court heard the teenager admitted slapping the toddler, hitting him with a jug cord and throwing him against a wall and door over two days before kneeling on him," a report in The Chronicle, dated December 14, 1990, recalled.

"The child died hours after the latter incident."

Crown Prosecutor David Meredith had told the court it was clear the children under the teenager's care had annoyed him, and suggested babysitting them had been more than he could handle.

Mr Meredith went on to say the teen had later made up an excuse about the children suffering a fit, and had been chastising Kenneth when he knelt on him with one knee.

A Supreme Court jury deliberated for eight hours over the verdict before convicting the teen of manslaughter.