Hemi Goodwin-Burke was tragically taken in an horrific act of cruelty.
Hemi Goodwin-Burke was tragically taken in an horrific act of cruelty.

Couple haunted by brutal death five years on

AFTER their world was ripped apart five years ago, the parents of a CQ toddler brutally bashed to death by his babysitter have been forced to cope with their grim new reality.

Today marks a heartbreaking reminder for Shane Burke and Kerri-Ann Goodwin of the moment their precious Hemi was stolen away in an act of unimaginable horror at Moranbah.

Child killer Matthew James Ireland remains behind bars - but the question of "for how long" haunts the pair daily.

Matthew Ireland with toddler Hemi Goodwin-Burke, whom he beat to death in March 2015.
Matthew Ireland with toddler Hemi Goodwin-Burke, whom he beat to death in March 2015.

In June 2017 he was jailed for eight and a half years for manslaughter, downgraded from murder, and granted parole eligibility on May 25 last year because he had already spent four years in jail.

Ireland has already been rejected one parole application and it is understood he will be able to make a second sometime in May this year.

"We're going to go into another battle shortly to try and keep him in jail," Mr Burke told the Daily Mercury.

Today however they will visit their baby's grave.

"There's not a day goes by … I've missed out on so much," Ms Goodwin said.

"I won't ever stop fighting for him … and for other little children failed by the system."

Hemi Goodwin-Burke.
Hemi Goodwin-Burke.

Hemi, 18 months, was pushed, punched and kicked in a sustained and "vicious" attack by Ireland resulting in 78 bruises, ruptured organs, fractured bones and a severed brain stem throughout his tiny frame.

The couple have appealed to the Parole Board to keep Ireland behind bars, believing it has not been long enough for any rehabilitation to have occurred.

The pair were also involved in the fight to implement tougher child killer laws, which were passed in May last year.

Under the new legislation, convicted killers whose callous disregard for their victims results in death will be jailed for life.

However Mr Burke said he was yet to see the new law applied.

Shane Burke and Kerri-Ann Goodwin, parents of 18-month-old Hemi Burke.
Shane Burke and Kerri-Ann Goodwin, parents of 18-month-old Hemi Burke.

"If they don't start using these new laws soon, we'll be back to square one and we'll have to start fighting again," he said.

For now the still-grieving couple will focus on coping through this difficult time.

"It's a never-ending battle (filled with) pretty raw emotions," Ms Goodwin said.

"You remember the phone call, you remember the time. Everything flashes before your eyes again.

"We just have to learn another way to cope with it."


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