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Baby-killing boyfriend avoids life sentence over 'act of total and unmitigated evil'

AAP logoAAP 14/09/2018 Rick Goodman
Dwayne Lindsey. © AAP Image/Victoria Police Dwayne Lindsey.

Caution: This article contains details some readers may find distressing. 

It can now be revealed a Melbourne man was jailed for 34 years last May for murdering his girlfriend's six-month-old baby in an ice-fuelled "act of total and unmitigated evil".

Dwayne Lindsey, 35, murdered Chayse Dearing at a flat in Glenroy while the baby's mother was out shopping in June 2016.

The baby suffered severe traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries as well as bruising to his neck, head, groin and genitals.

In sentencing, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Kaye said it was a "vicious, brutal and sickening attack on a defenceless and helpless infant for no reason".

"While the whole incident might have taken place over a relatively brief time, it was of a sufficient duration that enabled you to inflict a number of separate bruises to Chayse's head, to vigorously shake Chayse, to cause ligature marks to his neck, and to inflict severe injuries to his groin and genital area," he said.

"Those injuries … bear the hallmarks of a ferocious, brutal and sickening attack, inflicted by you on a defenceless, harmless and innocent baby."

The baby's mother, Michelle Dearing, and one of her friends had gone shopping at a 24-hour Kmart just after 4:00am on the day of the murder.

She returned home to find paramedics working on Chayse, who was taken to hospital and later died after life support was withdrawn.

Lindsey initially claimed he had been asleep with the baby on his chest when he was woken by a spider before Chayse fell off him and hit his head on a wall heater.

That was inconsistent with the medical reports.

Michelle Dearing with her baby son Chayse Dearing © Facebook: Michelle Dearing Michelle Dearing with her baby son Chayse Dearing 'Vicious and sickening violence'

Justice Kaye found Lindsey had subjected Chayse to a series of "brutal acts of cruel, vicious and sickening violence".

The sentencing was suppressed as Dwayne Lindsey faced further charges in the Victorian County Court.

But prosecutors withdrew those charges this morning, prompting the suppression order on his sentencing in the Supreme Court last May to be lifted.

Lindsey was high on the drug ice and hadn't slept for several days when he launched the attack.

Justice Kaye said although Lindsey's drug use went some way to explaining his "ferocious, brutal and sickening attack", it was no excuse and wouldn't lessen his sentence.

"It does appear that your murderous assault on Chayse was out of character with the attitude you had displayed to him.

"However, that evidence, while relevant, does not in any way … diminish your culpability for the appalling brutality with which you inflicted the injuries on Chayse," he said.

Lindsey has never explained the attack or shown any remorse.

Justice Kaye said it was "so contrary to the fundamental values of our society as to defy any comprehensible explanation".

"What you did to Chayse was an act of total and unmitigated evil."

Dwayne Lindsey is taken away after being found guilty of killing his partner's six month old baby Chayse Dearing at the Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne. © AAP Image/Stefan Postles Dwayne Lindsey is taken away after being found guilty of killing his partner's six month old baby Chayse Dearing at the Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne. Justice Kaye said he had decided against sentencing Lindsey to life imprisonment as there was no evidence his murderous attack was pre-meditated and accepted he had been trying to seriously nurture the baby, not kill him.

The court heard Lindsey, a regular ice-user, had a long history of drug abuse which began when he was 12.

Lindsey will serve a minimum 27 years jail before becoming eligible for parole.

It's expected he will need to be detained in protective custody due to the nature of his crime.

'Rot in hell'

A jury found Lindsey guilty in March, with a family member saying after the verdict that "he can rot in hell".

"You can't explain what he did," Michelle's foster mother, Mariah Strahan, said outside the court at the time.

"None of us know why he did it … it's just obviously the evil in him.

"I hope the rest of his days are lived in torture, like he did to Chayse."


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