Warning: Incredibly distressing content
Jakobi Wilson was just six months old when he lost his life at the hands of his father. His dad, 21-year-old Mildura man, Evander Wilson, shook his son to death in “some sort of rage” over a missing soft drink.
Evander Wilson admits to losing control and taking his anger out of his young son, who couldn’t stop crying. This was after Evander also attacked his girlfriend and Jakobi’s mother moments before.
What exactly happened
The term is Filicide – when a child dies in the hands of a parent. Something that should NEVER ever happen. Something that happens in Australia, on average, once a fortnight.
In Jakobi’s case, the tragedy occured over a missing soft drink and misdirected anger.
The Supreme Court of Victoria heard that Evander, who has a long history of drug abuse and a troubled upbringing, was upset over the fact that he didn’t receive his bottle of soft drink with the pizza order he placed.
Evander became incredibly angry about this and grabbed Jakobi’s mother, Chelsea Smith by the hair before dragging her across the lounge room and punching her in the ribs and stomach.
He then took his anger out on Jakobi who was sitting in a car seat on the lounge floor. The six-month-old started to cry so Evander picked him up and shook him.
Jakobi’s head was flopping around and he was still crying. The accused kept bouncing his knees and bouncing Jakobi up and down.”
Father shook baby in ‘some sort of rage’
As Evander shook his son, his head hit the back of his dad’s knee. The court heard that Evander was in “some sort of rage” while shaking.
Jakobi continued to cry so Evander put on the television to try and calm his son down. He then placed his son back into his car seat and noticed he became silent.
Even though Jakobi was so young, if either parent addressed him he would grunt or make a sound but there was nothing.”
Evander checked to see if his son was still breathing before calling an ambulance. The court also heard that Evander attempted to claim Jakobi’s mother “dropped the baby” before admitting what had happened.
Little Jakobi Wilson was rushed to hospital where he died from a traumatic head injury.
‘He only blames himself’
Evander pleaded guilty to one charge of child homicide over his son’s death. The court also heard how he gave his son a hug and told him “Daddy’s sorry” after the incident.
Evander’s lawyer, Mr Andrianakis argued the defendant played an active role while on the phone to ambulance services and that his defendant regrets what he did.
Mr Andrianakis said,
He didn’t intend to cause harm and acted in a criminally negligent way. He only blames himself.”
His lawyer also mentioned that Evander’s childhood was “marred by physical and physiological abuse” and he “wasn’t equipped to deal with the situation he found himself in that day”.
Father shook baby learns his fate
Evander Wilson was jailed for eight-and-a-half years in the Victorian Supreme Court today.
Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth described Wilson’s actions as spontaneous and made note that after the boy went limp he made genuine efforts to help him, hugging the boy and telling him “Daddy’s sorry”.
While Justice Hollingworth accepted that Wilson was remorseful, noting his guilty plea to manslaughter and ongoing nightmares over what happened, she acknowledged that hadn’t always been the case.
From April to June this year, he’d told family and friends that his partner was the one who killed Jakobi by dropping him, and he was stepping forward to prevent her from going to prison.
He also sent abusive messages to his former partner, threatening violence when he was released from prison.
“Your behaviour and making those statements and threats was cowardly, and disgusting and inconsistent with any genuine remorse at that particular time,” Justice Hollingworth said.
The judge said the young mother, just 18 at the time, blamed herself for not leaving the violent relationship sooner. Meanwhile angry and heartbroken family members say they wished they had been able to do more to help her escape Wilson’s violence.
His teenage years had been marked by drug use, inconsistent schooling and homelessness. Having begun using cannabis at nine after being exposed in utero, Wilson began drinking at 10 and took up ice at 15. He was using heavily at the time.
Justice Hollingworth said Wilson would benefit from a lengthy period on parole, if it was to be granted by the parole board.
He’ll have to serve at least another four years before he’s eligible.
The victim should have been protected by you
This isn’t the first time something tragic like this has happened due to the negligence of a parent meant to be protecting their child.
Just last week a Western Australian mother was jailed for adding bleach to her child’s feeding tube. At first, she blamed her young daughter but then confessed it was her and she did it so she could get a “good night’s sleep”.
As Justice Joseph McGrath said during the trial, “You are the victim’s mother. The victim should have been cared for and protected by you.” The mother was sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison.
Last month another mother in Cairns was sentenced to jail after her 13-month-son ingested his mum’s meth she had left in her bedroom. Little Makavelii Leoni died from methamphetamine toxicity with 43 injuries to his body, including bruising and bite marks to his arm.
The mother first attempted to cover it up, suggesting he drowned in the bath but the truth came out. The mother was sentenced to eight years in prison.
A Sydney father also found out his fate earlier this year after he violently shook his newborn son, Ryan to death in a “sudden loss of control”. He admitted to the court that he “couldn’t handle parenting” and was sentenced to a jail term of five years.
We share these tragic outcomes not to shock, but to raise awareness that filicide is happening more often than we think. Often these tragedies are due to mental illness, relationship breakdowns, drug and alcohol abuses and lack of support.
Help is available. Please, if you or someone you know is struggling or you are concerned for a child’s safety please speak up.
Where to get help
- Lifeline: 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au
- Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636 or beyondblue.org.au
- Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 or kidshelpline.com.au
- Headspace: 1800 650 890 or headspace.org.au