‘I can’t feel her pain’: officer makes tearful apology to Rosie Batty

A detective who deemed Luke Batty was not at risk from his violent father has made a tearful apology to his mother, saying she wakes up thinking of Luke every day.

Detective Senior Constable Deborah Charteris interviewed Luke six months before he was murdered by his father Greg Anderson, but closed the case believing the boy was safe.

She broke down in the Victorian Coroners Court on Tuesday as she apologised to Rosie Batty.

• Police lost chance to arrest Batty killer
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“I can assure you that had I for one moment been concerned for Luke’s welfare that wouldn’t have occurred,” she said of her decision to close the case.

“I have gone over and over in my head thousands and thousands of times if I’d have done things differently and I can reassure myself I did all the right things.

“But then Luke died.

“I wake up every morning and think of Luke and his mother, and every night. I can’t feel her pain.”

Anderson murdered his 11-year-old son with a cricket bat and knife in February, as they played together in the nets at the Tyabb oval after cricket training.

Det Sen Const Charteris told the inquest into Luke’s death that she spoke to the boy, following revelations that Anderson had shown him a knife in November 2012 and said “this could be the one to end it all”.

She was also aware Anderson was facing child pornography charges.

But Luke told her he loved his father and did not fear him.

Luke Batty and his mother lived a life of fear because of his father. Photo: AAP

Luke Batty and his mother lived a life of fear because of his father. Photo: AAP

“I had every reason to believe he was being open and honest,” Det Sen Const Charteris told the court.

She said Ms Batty had also said she did not believe Anderson was capable of harming Luke, before the detective closed the case soon after the interview in August 2013.

A supervision order restricted Anderson’s access to Luke to sporting events in public places on weekends.

“I believed Luke was safe with his mother, was being protected and that the order would protect him,” Det Sen Const Charteris said.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Di Davidson told the inquest Ms Batty felt alone as she navigated a series of court hearings, in September 2013.

“She felt there was no one to help her and assist her and she had to keep coming back to court,” Sen Const Davidson said.

“So upset with the situation she found herself in, she said she planned on throwing herself in front of a bus when she left court that day.”

Sen Const Davidson said Ms Batty retracted the comment when concerned police officers suggested taking her to hospital.

Another police officer, Leading Senior Constable Scott Walters, told the court he once arrested Anderson.

“He was a very intimidating man, very big, he would stare you down,” he said.

The inquest was also told that not all police prosecutors had access to the former police database system, which State Coroner Judge Ian Gray described as curious.

* Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467


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