A man who killed his seven-week-old baby got only a conviction for manslaughter because he pleaded guilty. According to the Daily Mail, Rick Cataldo was arraigned Thursday in a Brisbane Supreme Court over the brutal death of Lily Rain Cataldo. In a savage attack, Cataldo had inflicted horrific injuries on his daughter including fracturing her skull in six places.
When Lily’s mother, Michelle Leask found her daughter, pale, limp, and unconscious lying next to a sleeping Cataldo, she tried to call the ambulance, but was stopped by the 29-year-old man. Cataldo had stopped Michelle from calling an ambulance for his daughter because he was more concerned about the cannabis plants he was growing in the house.
The 29-year-old man purportedly told Leask, 26, that they would try for another child if Lily died. Cataldo, from Deception Bay eventually allowed Leask to call an ambulance after he got rid of his hydroponic marijuana set-up. It took him a week.
When the seven-week-old baby was taken to the hospital, it prompted a visit from the police and Child Safety services who wanted to know how the infant got a fractured skull, broken ribs and dislocated arm. In a court statement, Leask claimed that Cataldo had instructed her to lie to authorities and tell them that she found Lily dead in her cot and accidentally dropped her as she was getting out of the car at the Redcliffe Hospital.
The 26-year-old lied to authorities, but later came clean, adding that Lily’s injuries coincided with her son’s birthday and when she made repeated requests to take the child to the hospital, Rick refused because he did not want to spoil the birthday boy’s celebrations.
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Lily survived for nine days before yielding to her horrifying injuries. Doctors said even if the infant had survived, she would most likely have been left with permanent brain damage stemming from her father’s atrocious attack. Cataldo refused to follow Leask when she rushed their daughter to the hospital; he claimed he was having a panic attack. He also refused to agree to a post-mortem examination. It even took his father, Vince Cataldo, to convince him that he needed to go to the hospital and identify his dead child.
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Both parents pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Lily, ABC Australia is reporting. Lily’s mother was sentenced in April to five years imprisonment, but walked free after the judge suspended her jail term. Her lawyer had argued that the 26-year-old was subject to persistent abuse by Cataldo and was easily manipulated by him.
Cataldo remains out on bail and will return to court in August for his sentence.
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