Vic boy’s killer jailed for six years

A Victorian man jailed for killing his partner’s three-year-old son says he would have tried to save the boy’s life if he had known the child was dying of a catastrophic brain injury.


Brok Ronald Hughes, 26, of Glenroy, was sentenced on Friday to at least six years and three months imprisonment for the child homicide of Zane Bradbury in 2014.

The boy died in hospital after Hughes took him by the neck and forcefully threw him onto a bed, causing the preschooler to fatally hit his head.

Hughes was initially charged with murder but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of child homicide and two charges of intentionally causing injury to Zane and a younger sibling of the dead boy.

Victorian Supreme Court Justice Michael Croucher said Hughes’ actions while trying to discipline the boy were over the top and caused a catastrophic injury.

Hours after Zane was injured on May 9 last year, Hughes, then 25, told police Zane was “being a terror” when he decided to take the boy to his bedroom for a time out.

The court was told Zane’s head struck part of the window sill as he landed on the bed.

“You overreacted grossly and criminally,” Justice Croucher said.

Hughes realised the boy was hurt and told the boy’s mother but did not tell her he had thrown him.

Justice Croucher criticised Hughes’ decision not to call an ambulance or tell the mother what had happened.

“There was an element of self protection in the failure to seek medical attention immediately … it was morally wrong to fail to seek medical attention,” he said.

When police informed Hughes of Zane’s death, he told them if he had known Zane’s life was on the line, he would have got help faster.

Outside court, Zane’s grandmother, Charito Cunning, released yellow balloons tearfully declaring: “Zane, this is for you darling. We love you forever”.

Children should be loved nurtured, guided and treasured, she told reporters.

“Not (die) like this.”

Ms Cunning said Hughes’ maximum sentence of nine years and six months was not enough.