Gold Coast Mum Maintains Innocence In Son's Death
A Gold Coast mother will spend at least the next four years behind bars for hitting her young son Tyrell Cobb in the stomach so hard he died.
Heidi Strbak maintained her innocence in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Monday as she was sentenced to nine years' jail for pleading guilty to manslaughter.
The 34-year-old will be eligible for parole in October 2021.
"I have not caused the injuries that I am being blamed for and I believe that it is a mistake, an injustice," Strbak said.
Tyrell died on May 24, 2009 after two separate blows to his abdomen caused internal bleeding and the leaking of his stomach contents, leading to peritonitis.
Justice Peter Applegarth found Strbak likely punched four-year-old Tyrell in the stomach in frustration then chose not to seek medical help to avoid a child protection investigation into his "constellation of injuries".
"The last hours of his life must have been miserable and painful," he said.
Justice Applegarth said it was easy for Strbak to be perceived as "some kind of monster" but her case was only the "tip of an iceberg".
"The tragic fact is that there are tens of thousands of young mothers who can be frustrated and distressed and verbally abuse their infants or physically abuse them," he said.
"Unless we as a community learn from this terrible case, it's inevitable that there will be another case like it."