Death of an Innocent


tags: Canberra, ACT,

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By Jason Byrnes

From the June 2015 issue of the APJ.

Two police officers stood at the rear of the suburban bungalow, looking through the house’s wooden-framed kitchen windows. What they saw shocked and angered them. On the floor was an infant boy screaming in agony; upright next to him was a man pacing excitedly, crying and calling out:

“I want to die.”

The man (who was the infant’s father) held a glass containing a milk-like liquid on its rim and at the base. The substance was the source of the baby’s excruciating pain.

The father refused repeated demands by police to let them into the house. Fearing they were too late, the elder of the two officers had had enough. Sergeant Philip Cook decided on immediate action. He quickly slipped off one of his police-issue boots and, using the boot for protection, punched into the window. Once the window was smashed the Sergeant reached through the gap to unlock the latch on the adjacent door.

Rushing into the premises, the other police officer quickly gathered the screaming infant from the floor and forced the father to one side.

“Did you give the baby anything?” demanded Sergeant Cook as he entered the house.

“Yes, I gave it a sip. It drank some, and spat the rest out,” sobbed the father.

Knowing that time was of the essence, the police officers hurriedly took the infant (and the glass of milky liquid) from the house to seek medical attention at a nearby doctor’s house. But, sadly, their efforts would be in vain. The infant would be dead within the hour.

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