Bruised, burnt: Strbak breaks down as son’s injuries shown


The contested sentence for killer mum Heidi Strbak has begun in the Supreme Court after she successfully appealed an earlier nine-year jail term in the High Court of Australia.

Strbak pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of her four-year-old son Tyrell Cobb, who died in 2009 from blunt force injuries to his abdomen which caused his leakage of his stomach and internal bleeding.

The contested hearing in the Brisbane Supreme Court is being held to determine whether Strbak, or her then-partner Matthew Scown inflicted the fatal blow to the young boy. Strbak, who is in custody, will be re-sentenced on the evidence in this hearing.

Barrister Philip McCarthy QC, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, said only three people could have inflicted the injury to Tyrell on the weekend of May 23 and 24 in 2009 - Strbak, Scown or Strbak's brother.

Tyrell Cobb died in 2009 after receiving blunt force trauma to his abdomen.
Tyrell Cobb died in 2009 after receiving blunt force trauma to his abdomen.

But both the prosecution and defence say Strbak's brother is not under any suspicion.

Both Strbak and Scown deny they caused the fatal injury to Tyrell.

Scown was sentenced to four years in prison for Tyrell's manslaughter but the sentence was immediately suspended on the day of his sentence because he had already served two years and eight months in custody.

Strbak's manslaughter plea was entered on the particular that she failed to seek medical treatment for Tyrell, not that she struck the fatal blow or blows.

"You'll hear evidence from the expert surgical paediatrician that the injuries sustained to Tyrell were treatable, that Tyrell would have survived if he received treatment when he first became symptomatic," Mr McCarthy told Justice David Boddice.

Post mortem photographs of the horrific injuries to little Tyrell have been shown in court this morning - including images of extensive bruising to his face and body, a burn from lighter to his ankle and various abrasions on his small body.

Strbak sobbed throughout the evidence as photos of her injured son were shown.

Mr McCarthy said the court would hear evidence that in the months before Tyrell's death, neighbours of the Gold Coast mum saw her being violent towards the little boy.

"It is the crown contention revealed from the evidence to be placed before your honour that during that time in which Ms Strbak was residing in Bayview St, Runaway Bay other residents observed her to act abusively and aggressively towards her son," he said.

Heidi Strbak
Heidi Strbak


Matthew Scown
Matthew Scown

"They would hear Ms Strbak yelling at the child, then on occasion would grab his arm and drag him. They would also hear Tyrell screaming and crying and also hear the sounds of smacking or hitting sounds coming from inside that unit.

"It is understood that Ms Strbak does not accept those facts."

Mr McCarthy said when he died, Tyrell was covered in bruises and abrasions and the crown would submit Strbak "was the author of those injuries".

The hearing, which is expected to run for several days, continues.

Originally published as Bruised, burnt: Strbak breaks down as son's injuries shown

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