News National Life sentence call for baby killer

Life sentence call for baby killer

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Prosecutors have demanded a life sentence for a man who murdered a 10-month-old baby while committing a burglary in the child’s Victorian home.

Harley Hicks, 21, of North Bendigo, bashed baby Zayden Veal-Whitting more than 30 times about the face and head with a home-made baton made of copper wire wrapped in tape.

The baton was later found in Hicks’ possession and with DNA from Hicks and Zayden on it.

Prosecutor Michelle Williams SC told the Victorian Supreme Court, sitting in Bendigo, that Hicks’ crime was almost inexplicable.

Ms Williams said baby Zayden must have been disturbed by Hicks but posed no real threat to him.

“We consider what he did was an extreme, extreme way to respond to any thought of self-preservation, to react in such a violent way,” she said on Monday.

“It almost has no explanation.”

Ms Williams said the Crown sought a life sentence with a minimum term, which she said was in line with sentences involving the murder of children including that of Robert Farquharson, who drowned his three sons in a car on Father’s Day in 2005.

A jury deliberated for five days before finding Hicks guilty of murder, aggravated burglary and two counts of theft amid a robbery spree in the Bendigo suburb of Long Gully early on June 15, 2012.

Ms Williams said Hicks had an extensive criminal record, with nine court appearances before his murder trial dating back to 2007 for crimes including wilful damage, thefts and burglaries.

She said Hicks breached almost all of the orders, including good behaviour bonds and community corrections orders, given to him.

The last, a community corrections order for a 2011 armed robbery, was applied only two months before Zayden’s murder.

The pre-sentence hearing continues before Justice Stephen Kaye.