Mum's partner says he 'loved those boys'

THE partner of Casey Veal has told the Supreme Court he loved Ms Veal’s children and did not kill baby Zayden.

Furniture removalist Mathew Tisell was living with Ms Veal at the Eaglehawk Road property in June, 2012.

He returned from an interstate job on the evening of June 14, had an argument with Ms Veal about the dog, smoked some cannabis and did some washing before going to bed.

When questioned by defence counsel David Hallowes about why he had earlier told police he did not sell drugs from the house, Mr Tisell said he did not see that telling a mate to come over every once in a while to get their marijuana was the same as selling.

“I don't call a stick here one month, a stick there one month, selling pot,'' he said.

“I don't sell pot, it's not worth my family but technically in a manner of speaking ... it was selling pot.

"Some people would turn around and say ...'did you have any, by any chance'  ... maybe if I had a spare one by any chance sitting in there, I'd say 'yeah sure, come around and grab it'.

"And then they'd just give me 20 bucks or whatever it was for it.''

But Mr Tisell said he would never put the children at risk, and did not ever hurt Zayden.

"I did not kill Zayden, no I didn't - I loved that kid,’’ Mr Tisell said. "I loved those boys to death, I still do."

Mr Tisell said Zayden's father James did a wonderful job parenting his children, but he loved sharing the responsibility and everything that came with that.

"I still see Xavier, they're my kids,’’ Mr Tisell said.

“They're not my biological kids, they're James', and he does a lovely job of them, he's more than responsible, but I love sharing the responsibility.

“I love cleaning up after them - I've helped Xavier grow so much.

“I've financially supported them, I've done everything I could for those boys.’’

Mr Tisell said it was still difficult to talk about the morning he saw Zayden cold and bruised and not breathing when Ms Veal ran screaming for help through their Long Gully home.

Ms Veal found her son bludgeoned to death and laying in a pool of blood in his cot in June, 2012.

Harley Hicks, 21, of Long Gully, has pleaded not guilty to the child's murder.

Mr Tisell told the court Ms Veal woke him about 7am on June 15, telling him the house had been broken into.

Mr Tisell looked around the property and the police were called. As he went to the bathroom, he heard Ms Veal screaming, so Mr Tisell started running towards the other end of house.

Ms Veal met him in the hallway with Zayden in her arms. "He was green ... one side of his face was bruised when I grabbed him out of her arms," Mr Tisell said.

"He was so cold, and he was also limp.

Mr Tisell said Zayden was not breathing and he took him to the heater because he was so cold.

Paramedic Christopher Dickson said when he arrived at the house, a distressed man met him and told him to hurry up as “somebody’s broken in and bashed him’’’.

He said the child appeared blue, looked lifeless, did not have a pulse and had dry blood on his lips and teeth. Zayden's heart was not working.

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