Cameron Staples worked his way through seven cans of bourbon and coke on the day he shook his four-month-old in Melbourne. Baby Flynn died four days later in hospital.
Staples, 35, on Thursday was jailed for up to nine years for child homicide at Kilsyth, in Melbourne’s east, in May 2019.
He left Flynn at home to buy booze, came home and got drunk, Victoria’s supreme court was told.
After Staples’ then-partner, Robyn Hall, returned home from a movie she found her baby bruised, moaning, and with his jaw clenched. He was limp in her arms.
Hall was so distraught at the hospital she tore her hair out and banged her head against a wall. Meanwhile, Staples lied.
He said he’d changed Flynn’s nappy and left the room to bin the dirty diaper. He said he returned to find the baby on the floor, picked him up, and put him to bed.
Flynn died from injuries including intracranial hemorrhages and a hypoxic brain injury, associated with forceful shaking and hitting a hard surface. His condition was too severe to be explained by a change table fall, doctors said.
About a month later, Staples admitted he’d been too rough with Flynn, like he always was when drinking, the court heard.
He said he’d put Flynn down “pretty hard” on the floor causing the bub to hit his head and go quiet.
Staples was jailed on Thursday and must serve seven years of his sentence before he can be considered for release on parole.
Justice Paul Coghlan said no punishment could provide much consolation to Flynn’s grief-stricken family.
“You knowingly told deliberate lies about what happened to Flynn,” the judge told Staples. “You will have to live with the death of Flynn and the consequence to the other victims for the rest of your life.”
Hall earlier told the court the pain of losing her son was “like a fire burning inside of me”.
“I devoted my life to Flynny and his father,” she said in a statement. “And then it was all gone. My whole world shattered that night. I don’t want to be here without Flynny. I don’t have a role anymore. What’s the point?”
She could not understand how Staples could be so selfish and “hurt our perfect baby boy”. “Flynny didn’t even get a chance at life,” his mother said.
Staples was diagnosed with a personality disorder after his arrest. Coghlan found he had some insight into the effects of his crime but it was limited.
The 490 days Staples has already spent in custody will count towards his sentence.