The mother of an 11-year-old Melbourne boy murdered by his father after cricket practice says he was an effervescent boy who loved his dad.
Effervescent and funny, intelligent and sensitive, a little boy in a growing body who loved his father and worried for his mother.
That is how Rosie Batty will remember her 11-year-old son Luke, who died at the hands of his estranged father, Greg Anderson, on Wednesday night.
As she came to terms with the brutal resolution of the 11-year-battle with her boy’s troubled father, she said she was comfortable with her decision to keep the volatile man in their lives.
“I did what I believed was in the best interest of Luke,” Ms Batty, originally from England, said.
“It’s a tragic situation that no one could see was going to happen.”
She trusted Luke was safe with the man who loved him.
Even after the ambulance was called to the oval in Tyabb on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula where Anderson beat and stabbed the young cricketer, she had not grasped what had happened.
“It was only later that it became apparent that it may not have been an accident and that it may have been premeditated and it was the worst possible outcome,” Ms Batty said.
“As a sane person, or as a caring parent, you trust the very person who killed him, loved him, and they did love him, they loved him more than anyone else.”
It was a love that was returned.
Ms Batty’s only child’s death came after he asked to spend five more minutes with the man he rarely saw.
“He loved his dad and he felt pain because his dad, he knew, was struggling,” Ms Batty said.
“He felt for his dad. He knew he was in a sad place.”
The outcome, she said, was another tragedy of family violence in the most “sad, sad, sad, sad” way.
Her estranged husband, who lived in the Melbourne suburb of Chelsea Heights, was on a path of desperation.
“Nobody could have helped Greg any more. I tried, his family tried, everybody tried.”
Over 20 years she had watched him change from a person who would brush off losing a job to someone who was unemployable.
He had mental health problems and experienced bouts of homelessness.
“Everything he did, failed. He was a failure and he knew it,” she said.
Nevertheless, she wanted her boy to know his father.
“I felt the only real avenue was for a child to know his father,” she said.
“And I still don’t regret that. A child grows up without his father, he grows up with other issues.”
“What I wanted to achieve was that he knew he was loved.”
She said she wanted Luke’s friends to remember him as he had been, rather than how he spent his final minutes.
“I’d like to remember him in a joyous way,” she said.