Mason Jet Lee lived much of his 22 months in pain, whether it be from a broken leg, severe anal injuries or the blow to his stomach that caused his death.
The man who caused most of that pain – either by his indifference or violence – will spend at least the next four years in jail.
William Andrew O’Sullivan, the partner of Mason’s mother Anne Maree Lee, delivered the fatal blow that ruptured the toddler’s small intestine about five days before his death in Caboolture, north of Brisbane, in June 2016.
Six months earlier, O’Sullivan failed to get the boy treatment for a broken leg and perianal injuries so severe a dermatologist who treated him said it was the worst case he had seen in his 40 years’ experience.
O’Sullivan, 37, has been handed a nine-year sentence in Brisbane Supreme Court for Mason’s manslaughter and a child cruelty charge.
He had taken Mason in because he did not believe Ms Lee was capable of caring for him.
The child spent the last of those days vomiting, feverish and dehydrated because O’Sullivan failed to get him treatment after hitting or kicking him in the abdomen in response to him crying, also yelling at him to “shut up”.
“He was a defenceless toddler, and you seem to have taken out your anger and frustration against him,” Chief Justice Catherine Holmes said in sentencing.
“He was not treated with any gentleness or kindness.”
O’Sullivan was sentenced on August 30 but it could not be reported until Thursday due to suppression orders, which have now been lifted.
O’Sullivan did not take Mason to a scheduled doctor appointment the day after delivering the blow, in what Justice Holmes said was indicative of his general indifference to the boy’s wellbeing.
Had Mason been treated, he would have likely survived.
Instead, his final hours were spent wrapped in a towel, lips blue, making grunting noises.
“I f***ing can’t do this,” O’Sullivan was heard to say in Mason’s final days.
When Mason developed a fever, he was taken to hospital, where doctors discovered fissures, infection and lacerations around his anus, resembling a burn injury.
He spent the next 22 days in hospital for severe cellulitis.
“Although his condition must’ve been wretched and painful … you did not seek medical help for him,” Justice Holmes said.
After his death, traces of methamphetamine were found in Mason’s blood, caused by contamination.
O’Sullivan, who had long battled addiction to drugs, particularly ice, tried to cover up his involvement in Mason’s death by blaming paramedics for responding slowly when they had taken just six minutes to arrive after being called by a friend.
O’Sullivan also lied to police by saying he found Mason with his lips blue and mouth clamped on a bottle before calling an ambulance and later claimed his 12-year-old “serial killer” daughter may have beaten him.
Since being in prison, he has been bashed unconscious.
Having served two years in custody, he will be eligible for parole from July 29, 2022, a sentence state Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington says falls short of community expectations.