Mother tells of moment she found her baby covered in blood

DAY 1: Supreme Court trial begins

DAY 2 - TUESDAY: THE mother of a Bendigo baby bludgeoned to death in his cot has told the Supreme Court of the harrowing moment she found her son limp and covered in blood.

Casey Veal told the court 10-month-old Zayden did not stir as she turned the light on in his room on the morning of June 15, 2012.

Ms Veal's eldest son had gone to her room shortly before,  saying doors in the house were open.

Ms Veal discovered the front and back doors were open, wallets were missing from the kitchen and the car door was open in the yard.

She woke her partner Matthew Tisell and they phoned police to report a burglary.

When Ms Veal initially checked Zayden's room, she noticed the baby monitor turned off but left him to sleep whilst she checked the house for what had been taken because the child had been unwell.

When she returned to wake him because the police would be visiting to investigate the burglary, Zayden did not stir.

She said Zayden was covered to his nose with a blanket - one of only three she had put him to bed with.

"I looked at him and realised he just wasn't sitting where he normally should be,'' she said.

"It was just in a really weird place to where he normally slept because he always slept in the same spot and he didn't look like he normally did when he slept. 

"He was kind of lying on his back, really like peaceful whereas he's normally lies on his side and bit of everywhere. 

"He didn't have the blankets on him that I put him to sleep with because he had to sleep weighted or he wouldn't sleep at all. 

"He had three blankets on him because he liked to have it - to sleep like that  with his teddy bear and his dummy and that morning when I went in to get him he only had one on him and it sat perfectly straight across his face - which I thought was really strange because he doesn't like things near his nose.''

Ms Veal pulled the blanket back and saw "blood everywhere".

"His face was swollen and bruised, he was unresponsive,'' she said.

"So I picked him up and screamed out to Matt."

The trial continues.

 EARLIER: LONG Gully man Harley Hicks did not enter an Eaglehawk Road property and kill 10-month-old  Zayden Veal-Whitting, the Supreme Court heard today.

Zayden was found lying in a pool of blood by his mother Casey Veal in her Eaglehawk Road home in June, 2012.

Harley Hicks has pleaded not guilty to the murder.

He has been charged with one count of murder, aggravated burglary and three counts of theft.

In his opening address, defence counsel David Hallowes told the jury they would not like Hicks by the end of the trial, but he was not a killer.

"Harley Hicks did not enter Eaglehawk Road, did not steal things from the house and he did not kill Zayden," he said.

"There is no issue that on June 14 Harley Hicks left Green Street on foot intending to steal and he did so, but that doesn't make him a killer.

"By the end of this trial you will not like Harley Hicks.

"He is a liar, he is a thief and he was a drug user - that does not make him a killer."

Mr Hallowes said it was not the role of the defence to prove Hicks innocent, but the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt he was guilty.

He said the defence would take issue with several aspects of the prosecution’s argument, including DNA evidence, and the “allegation in essence that Harley Hicks must have been the only person out that night with dishonest intent’’.

“We say the prosecution can’t prove that and won’t prove that,’’ he said.

Mr Hallowes said whilst Mr Hicks had admitted lying to police about committing the burglaries with another person on the night of Zayden’s death, it was not right to draw conclusions from that.

Crown prosecutor Michele Williams SC told the court on Tuesday Harley Hicks had signed documents admitting he lied about being with Aiden Kirby on the night.

“Harley Hicks told lies in the interview with the police,’’ Mr Hallowes said.

“He repeatedly lied, and he told a terrible lie about being with Aiden Kirby. 

“Remember how I said you will not like Harley Hicks. 

“He is a liar, but you can't just say, well, he told lies to the police and he tells a terrible lie, therefore he must be the person who killed Zayden. ‘’

Mr Hallowes said it would also be argued that DNA found on a home-made baton, claimed by the prosecution to be the murder weapon, also matched Hicks’ twin brother, Ashley.

"Without going into any argument at this stage, you can readily understand there will be issues as to actually whose DNA was on the baton and when it got there,'' he said.

Mr Hallowes told the court Hicks was already on the run from police on the night of Zayden’s death, as there were warrants out for his arrest.

“So an issue in this case, for you, will be whether his actions in the following days are entirely consistent with that: someone already on the run from the police,’’ he said.

The trial continues.

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