A Queensland policeman punched his 10-week-old baby son in the stomach so hard it ruptured organs and caused fatal injuries because he was “intensely frustrated”, a court has heard.
Colin David Randall was charged with murder in 2016, 18 months after his infant died, but he pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Brisbane’s Supreme Court a week before a murder trial was scheduled to begin.
Today, the court heard the baby died from severe abdominal injuries and his liver was like “pulp” after his father punched him in the stomach while on his swing in the family home — an act of violence Justice Peter Davis described as a “horrendous attack”.
Prosecutor Philip McCarthy told a sentencing hearing that Randall was left alone with his son for the first time on what appeared to be a routine Saturday morning in June 2014, while his then-wife went to the shops.
“She did not see [the baby] in any particular stress before leaving the home,” Mr McCarthy said.
The court was told Randall called his partner in a panic and told her their child was limp, lifeless and not breathing.
The 40-year-old was shaking in the dock as his 10-minute triple-0 call was played to the court, during which an operator asked him to try to resuscitate his son.
‘Blow was utterly spontaneous’
The court heard that for three and a half years, Randall maintained the injuries were caused by “misapplied force” while giving his baby CPR before paramedics arrived.
“It beggars belief in circumstances where he was a trained [CPR] instructor,” Mr McCarthy said.
Prosecutor Philip McCarthy told the court Randall delivered “a strong, hard punch”. (ABC News)
He said Randall had since admitted he caused the fatal injuries and told police he “delivered a strong, hard punch” and the “blow was utterly spontaneous”.
The prosecution said Randall’s frustration seemed to be because of a failed work transfer to Hervey Bay — where a woman with whom he was having an affair grew up — along with sleep deprivation.
Family members were also suffering from the flu at the time, the court heard.
Justice Davis said there seemed to be no explanation as to why Randall killed his baby in “an amazing violent act”.
“There just seems to be no proper reason other than his frustration,” he said.
“It might be a single act of violence, but it’s a horrendous attack on a 10-week-old baby.”
‘People simply lose it’
Defence barrister David Brustman QC said his client was an “exemplary father” and there was no history of abusive conduct or violence.
“There are some cases where we just don’t know … people simply lose it,” he said.
Mr Brustman told the court his client was in protective custody because he was a police officer and whole sections of the prison had to be shut down to move him through the facility.
Mr McCarthy read a victim impact statement on behalf of Randall’s then-wife Debbra Chambers, who wrote about her pain, heartache and suffering since her son’s death.
“Losing a child should be every parent’s worse nightmare … but you, Colin Randall, actually did this to our son,” she said.
“I was lied to, manipulated and deceived by the man who I was married to, believing his death was a tragic accident somehow.
“I trusted you being my husband, my closest partner, the father of my children and a serving police officer.
“You have taken away my son and left me with a lifelong sentence of sadness and emptiness.
“The pain is as unbearable today as it was the day I said goodbye to him.”
The court heard Randall has been suspended from the Queensland Police Service and will be terminated once he is formally sentenced at a date to be fixed.