Tyabb friends shocked at boy's brutal death
The 11-year-old victim of a fatal bashing in Tyabb, Luke Batty, has been described as an outgoing boy who was willing to give anything a try.PT1M15S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-32jhv 620 349 February 13, 2014
Luke Batty, the 11-year-old victim of a fatal bashing which culminated in his father being shot by police, had just finished cricket training on Wednesday night when the attack began.
Tributes to Luke are mounting on social media as police call for witnesses to the tragedy to come forward.
I don’t know how the mother’s going to cope. She probably never will be able to.
Luke's father died in hospital after police shot the 54-year-old in the chest at Tyabb's Bunguyan Reserve sports oval.
The scene at the Tyabb cricket ground, where Luke died and his father was shot by police. Photo: Wayne Hawkins
Luke was a student in Year 6 at Flinders Christian Community College and had just finished training with the Tyabb junior cricket team at the time of the incident.
Victoria Police Commander Doug Fryer said four local police officers arrived at the oval on Frankston-Flinders Road in Tyabb on Wednesday evening after ambulance staff called with reports that a boy had been bashed and sustained "horrific and brutal" head injuries.
Detectives from the Homicide Squad have interviewed several people, including a number of children, who witnessed the horrific incident.
Police interview locals. Photo: Wayne Hawkins
Police confirmed they shot a 54-year-old Chelsea Heights man in the chest as he brandished a knife at officers, who initially tried to subdue him with capsicum spray.
He later died from his injuries after being flown to The Alfred hospital in a critical condition.
Commander Fryer said a single fatal shot was fired by a police officer after police were unsuccessful in their efforts to talk the man down. He would not say if officers had access to stun guns.
The Tyabb cricket ground, where Luke Batty was fatally attacked. Photo: Penny Stephens
"This was a dynamic, live critical incident. I won't comment on their exact conduct," he said, adding the Professional Standards Command would conduct the necessary investigation into the police officers' conduct.
Luke was treated by paramedics but died of head injuries at the scene.
The Homicide Squad is in charge of the investigation.
Community mourns young Luke Batty
Luke Batty's mother, Rosie Batty back at Tyabb oval today reading cards well wishers have left following the murder of her son here 2 days ago. Photo: James Boddington
Commander Fryer told Fairfax Radio the incident was "complicated" and involved other locations.
It is understood a custody battle was under way between Luke's parents.
Ms Batty had been told of her son's death and was distraught: "The mother has been advised, she was in the vicinity at the time but I can't go into the details of what she saw," Commander Fryer said.
"The death of a young child is always going to be horrific and I don't know how the mother's going to cope. She probably never will be able to."
Commander Fryer confirmed that Luke's father and mother were estranged.
He said there had been multiple witnesses to Luke's death and the shooting, including children and their parents.
Luke Batty Photo: Facebook
Commander Fryer said Luke's injuries were "significant" and "quite brutal".
He said police had spoken to witnesses at the scene, including some children, and called for others who police believed had yet to come forward to call Crime Stoppers.
Police cordoned off the oval, where a number of local sports clubs play, including the Tyabb Tennis Club and Tyabb Football Club.
A woman speaks to police in Tyabb. Photo: Wayne Hawkins
Wayne Murray, who lives about 200 metres from the oval, said junior cricket and football teams were playing on the oval when the police shooting happened.
"I was having tea, I walked out the back door about 30 seconds after I heard the police [drive in]... things had gone quiet and I went to turn around and you hear a pop-pop," he said.
"It was absolute chaos once the first ambulance rolled in, a lot of police came in and then the air ambulance came in and landed on the oval.
The oval was cleared shortly afterwards.
Later on Thursday morning visibly upset friends and neighbours were visiting Ms Batty's Tyabb home.
They shared hugs and tears on the street, while media maintained a respectful distance.
Local Taylor Le Brun, 16, came to the oval after she learnt of the incident from neighbours.
"It's unexpected so what could happen now? Because this has happened, what's next? You can't underestimate anyone now apparently."
In stark contrast to Wednesday night's horrific events, Bunguyan Reserve was eerily silent on Thursday morning, with only a couple of residents passing through with their dogs.
Police tape, tied to goalposts and a tree in front of what is believed to be Luke's mother's car, is the only indication that something terrible happened at this oval.
Trent Gundry, 15, a member of the Tyabb Junior Football Club, said Luke was "popular and sporty" and got along well with most people.
"He was good at his cricket. I'm just sad that it's happened," Trent said.
"He didn't deserve this. These are just the actions of someone else."
Trent said the community was small, where "nothing really happens".
"But when something does happen, it hits the community hard," he said.
Trent said he hoped the club would play a game for the 11-year-old later this year.
A Facebook tribute page for Luke Batty had attracted more than 440 comments and 12,o00 "likes" by 11.30am on Thursday, with some purporting to have witnessed the attack, saying there had been an altercation between the father and boy shortly beforehand. Police would not confirm whether this was true.
"Such a waste of a young life - so much ahead of him," one Facebook user said.
"Oh my god my heart is breaking for his poor family, just one very sad ending of what seemed a normal day," another user said.
On Thursday morning the first flowers appeared at the entrance to the sports club - a simple bouquet of yellow tied to the sign warning drivers to give way.
Another local dropped by to pay tribute, laying yellow carnations at the door of the cricket and football club.
She said the slaying was a tragedy for the community.
With Jane Lee