GRIEVING: Corby Akehurst was killed by his father, Shane Purssell Akehurst.
GRIEVING: Corby Akehurst was killed by his father, Shane Purssell Akehurst. Contributed

Killer dad denied ultimate sin next to son's deathbed

SHANE Purssell Akehurst was still trying to talk his way out of arrest as his son Corby lay brain dead in a bed in Lady Cilento Children's Hospital.

The Kin Kin father, 33 at the time, had tried to explain away the brutal torture and killing of his son with a plethora of excuses.

A fall off the bed while playing with his siblings, Corby being clumsy, being knocked over by his siblings, the family dog and even a goat were thrown up to police as possible causes of his son's long list of injuries.

But investigators knew all was not as it seemed when doctors treating Corby found a spate of historic injuries, including multiple broken ribs, when he was flown to Brisbane on March 25, 2015.

Former child protection detective Sergeant Dan Purdie worked the case along with Anthony Green, Amanda Rowland, Stacey Marshall and current CPIU boss Phil Hurst.

They had the medical evidence, but Mr Purdie, now the Ninderry MP, said child homicides were the hardest to prove without a confession.

Mr Purdie and his colleagues began interviewing Akehurst in a room at the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital.

The FIFO worker spent hours giving them explanations for Corby's injuries, but inconsistencies were stacking up.

Mr Purdie said he could still remember typing out the objection to bail and said the facts of the night would stick with him forever.

"He made full admissions to torturing Corby and trying to cover the tracks," Mr Purdie said.

 

GUILTY: Shane Purssell Akehurst pleaded guilty to manslaughter and torture charges after admitting he'd killed his 21-month-old son Corby.
GUILTY: Shane Purssell Akehurst pleaded guilty to manslaughter and torture charges after admitting he'd killed his 21-month-old son Corby. Contributed

After hours of interviewing Akehurst cracked and confessed to his crimes.

He admitted he had anger issues, particularly with Corby, with whom he'd never bonded.

He told police he didn't care at the time, when he'd thrown Corby into the timber wall and bed, then panicked and tried to cover for it by ringing 000.

Mr Purdie said he could still remember arriving at the family home where it was "like nothing had happened".

"He was still fluffing around like a great dad, trying to show he was a good dad," Mr Purdie said.

"He sort of realised (the inconsistencies) at the end of the night (in hospital) and threw his hands up and went 'yep, I did it'.

"It's pretty disturbing.

"It was a relief as well (the confession) that we were getting to the bottom of it."

 

TOUGH TASK: The investigators that worked on the Corby Akehurst case put in a mammoth shift in the first few days to secure the confessions from his father. From left, Anthony Green, Amanda Rowland, Dan Purdie and Stacey Marshall.
TOUGH TASK: The investigators that worked on the Corby Akehurst case put in a mammoth shift in the first few days to secure the confessions from his father. From left, Anthony Green, Amanda Rowland, Dan Purdie and Stacey Marshall. Warren Lynam

Mr Purdie said the heavy equipment operator "never really showed too much emotion" when speaking about the killing of his biological son.

Akehurst was originally charged with grievous bodily harm and five counts of assault, but his charges later to murder and torture. The murder charge was later downgraded to manslaughter.

He pleaded guilty to the charges of manslaughter and torture and was due to be sentenced sometime next week, after submissions were heard on Monday from the prosecution and defence.

Mr Purdie said he wanted 15-year minimum mandatory sentences for unlawful killing of children and said it shouldn't be up to families to fight for justice.

Sunshine Coast CPIU officer in charge detective Senior Sergeant Phil Hurst said Corby's autopsy report was "the worst autopsy report I've ever seen".

"The evidence there was overwhelming, in spite of the confessions," he said.

"In the scheme of things he's (Akehurst) lucky it's not murder and he's not facing life (imprisonment)."

 

BOSS: CPIU Detective Senior Sergeant Phil Hurst oversaw the Corby Akehurst investigation.
BOSS: CPIU Detective Senior Sergeant Phil Hurst oversaw the Corby Akehurst investigation. John McCutcheon

Sen-Sgt Hurst said Corby would've been in incredible pain, his broken ribs had received no treatment and were malformed, having re-fused in different positions.

Sen-Sgt Hurst praised his team of investigators.

"The amount of work they put in through the night, it was just incredible," he said.



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