A burglar has been jailed for life for the brutal murder of a 10-month-old baby boy during a break-in.
Crystal meth addict Harley Hicks used an improvised baton made of copper wire and tape to bludgeon 10-month-old Zayden Veal-Whitting to death as he lay sleeping in his cot.
Hicks, 21, tried to blame his twin brother for the crime but was found guilty and will spend at least 32 years in jail.
He was also sentenced for burglary and theft.
Sentencing him, a judge said: “It is almost unthinkable that any human being could have carried out the sickening crime that you have committed. What you did was totally and utterly evil."
Zayden's mother Casey Veal told the Herald Sun she was relieved that justice had been done but that she would be living with her own "sentence" forever.
She discovered Zayden in his cot lying strangely with his blanket over his face and his teddy missing at her home in Long Gully, Australia, on June 15, 2012.
When she pulled back the blanket she discovered her baby had suffered horrific facial injuries.
The court heard he had been hit at least 25 times.
Hicks had smoked crystal meth, cannabis and drunk alcohol but gave no reason to police as to why he carried out the attack when interviewed by police.
The court heard he was a career criminal who had first started offending aged 14.
Initially, he denied having anything to do with the crime and tried to blame an associate.
Then at the start of the trial he switched his defence case and claimed he had been out burgling with his twin brother Ashley on the night in question.
But DNA evidence proved crucial and Hicks was convicted by a jury.
June 13, 2014
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