Mason Lee’s mother has been sentenced for killing her 22-month-old toddler, & more in News in 5.

-With AAP.

1. Mason Lee’s mother has been sentenced for killing her 22-month-old toddler.

When Mason Jet Lee needed his mother the most, she wasn’t there.

Now Anne Maree Lee, 29, has been jailed for manslaughter after lying her way out of taking responsibility for her toddler or simply ignoring his existence until he died.

She was sentenced on Wednesday to nine years in jail and must serve at least a third before she can be released on parole.

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That could be in July since she’s already served more than two years in custody.

However, Lee’s sentenced could be increased with Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath seeking advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions to see if the sentence can be appealed.

Lee was sentenced after tearfully pleading guilty to the manslaughter of Mason, who died five days after a blow from Lee’s then partner, in Caboolture in June 2016.

Her part in Mason’s painful death was not getting medical treatment for her son after William Andrew O’Sullivan ruptured his small intestine.

Mason died five days after the blow, aged 22 months.

She also pleaded guilty to child cruelty after failing to get her son treatment for serious leg and anus injuries about five months before his death.

Lee left Mason at O’Sullivan’s place after storming off after a fight in which he threatened violence.

“You knew that O’Sullivan was a drug user,” Justice Jean Dalton said.

“You knew that he had been violent to you.

“You knew that your children would run into their bedrooms when he visited your house.

“You knew that he was prone to extreme outbursts of anger and he was jealous and possessive and controlling.”

Prosecutors believe Mason’s injuries were “survivable” with medical treatment.

Mason would have been in severe pain before his death, the court heard.

His symptoms would have been “obvious” and included pain, fever, vomiting, lethargy and paleness.

“Whilst she may not have been aware of the infliction of his injuries specifically, or its severity, as the child’s condition deteriorated over the course of a few days she did not seek medical attention for him,” crown prosecutor Michael Byrne QC said.

“He was vulnerable and defenceless and the one person he was entitled to receive shelter [from] … not only failed to do that, but in reality contributed [to it],” he said according the ABC.


Mason died in O’Sullivan’s unit. When paramedics were called, he was already showing signs of rigor mortis.

Months earlier, Lee and O’Sullivan also failed to get Mason medical treatment for perianal injuries, including anal fissures.

A broken leg was also untreated.

When Lee did call a doctor, Mason was hospitalised for 22 days and required narcotic infusions for severe pain.

Lee insisted she had been to GPs and been assured Mason only had nappy rash.

“That was a lie,” Mr Byrne said.

He had perianal injuries and a prolapsed anus, dermatitis and cellulitis.

The court heard the autopsy of Mason found he had traces of methylamphetamine in his system, but there was no suggestion he was given the drug on purpose by Lee or O’Sullivan and it was most likely he had touched a surface the drug had been on, the ABC reported.

O’Sullivan was jailed for nine years last year with parole eligibility set for July 2022.

Lee received a lighter sentence despite prosecutors arguing as Mason’s mother, her criminality was greater than O’Sullivan’s.

Justice Dalton disagreed, but acknowledged her parenting standards were grossly below community expectations.

“The fact you are the parent gives you a much greater responsibility and obligation to take care of your child than someone who is … not even related to the child.”

2. Some Australians would rather die than go into aged care.

Some Australians would rather die or “poke their eye with a pencil” than go into residential care, the royal commission into aged care has been told.


UnitingCare Australia national director Claerwen Little has revealed the grim consumer feedback her organisation took from a focus group and an online survey.

She said it found that people did not have a good understanding of the aged care system and it was something they did not think much about until they had to.

“Sadly, some people suggested they would rather die than go into a residential aged care facility,” Ms Little said.

“They would rather poke their eye with a pencil than have to enter a home.

“The expectations of people are that residential aged care is not a good place to be.”

In other evidence to the inquiry on Wednesday, Aged Care Guild chief executive Matthew Richter said his organisation, which represented a small group of care providers, was working on a system to offer consumers information about individual facilities including the type of care they provide as well as data on their performance.

It would also offer consumer feedback on the experience of residents and families who have dealt with specific centres and could provide a rating system on individual homes.

Mr Richter said it was hoped the system could be rolled out later this year.

“We’ve got to finish the prototype, test it and then determine what early data we might start to pick up from the ground,” he said.

“To get it operating as quickly as possible is our goal.”

On the issue of workforce pay and training, union group United Voice questioned the value placed on aged care work.

Executive Projects Coordinator Melissa Coad said low pay rates were compounded by the fact that most staff were employed part-time.

“So people really do struggle to amass enough money to live adequately,” she said.

Ms Coad said the question of pay, issues of training and ongoing education and high workloads would all affect the sector’s ability to attract enough staff into the future, amid predictions the aged care workforce would need to grow to one million by 2050.

“If wages and other working conditions don’t change we’re going to have significant problems in attracting people and retaining people to that workforce,” she said.

“The thing that our members tell me repeatedly is that they feel stressed in their work, pressured in their work.

“They don’t have enough time to do their job properly.”

The royal commission is investigating both the quality and safety of both residential and home care across the country.


It will sit in Adelaide for the rest of this week but also take evidence at further hearings planned for interstate capitals as well as regional centres.

3. The search for missing tourists in NSW has been scaled back as hope fades.

Hopes of finding two missing European tourists in waters off NSW are fading as police scale back their search for the pair three days after their personal items were found on a beach near Port Macquarie.

Hugo Palmer, 20, and Erwan Ferrieux, 21, haven’t been seen since passers-by discovered their belongings at Shelly Beach on Monday morning.

Their rental car was found in a nearby car park with a number of other belongings – including travel documents – still inside.

One local claims to have seen towels and gear belonging to Mr Palmer and Mr Ferrieux on the sand late on Sunday afternoon, raising questions about when the pair arrived at the beach.

A ground and water search involving police divers, Marine Rescue, SES and others resumed on Wednesday morning but was scaled back in the afternoon.

A smaller search will resume on Thursday.

Police Inspector Peter Neville said a family member of one of the men had arrived in Australia and was being “realistic” about the chances of finding the pair alive.

“She’s had a fair bit to absorb,” Insp Neville told reporters at the scene.

“It’s a very difficult conversation to have sometimes but we have been very honest with the friends and the family here and have told them what has occurred.”

Two female friends of Mr Palmer and Mr Ferrieux had planned to travel from Sydney to meet the two men.


Instead, they arrived in Port Macquarie on Wednesday to watch as the search continued.

“They travelled here today not only to support the operation but also their friends,” Insp Neville said.

Insp Neville said police did hold out some hope the men were alive.

“We have not completely discounted the chance that these men may have survived or something else has happened to them,” he said.

Surf Life Saving NSW dispatched jet skis and inflatable rescue boats to search the rocky coastline and beaches closer to shore.

Mr Palmer, an Englishman, and Mr Ferrieux, a Frenchman, have been close friends for years, according to their Facebook pages.

They both appear to have attended Sackville School, south of London.

NSW Police have been communicating with both the British and French consulates.

4. Wild weather predicted as Oma closes in.

Southeast Queensland is being urged to batten down the hatches as Cyclone Oma maintains its path toward the coast.

Authorities are warning people not to panic but prepare, with the system expected to bring wild weather, gale force winds and heavy rainfall.

Oma has weakened to a category two storm and was continuing to move slowly towards Queensland at around 10kmh.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Adam Blazak said there was still disagreement about which path the storm will take, but there was a possibility it could make landfall at the weekend.

“On Friday, we will see an increase in wind strength and we are expected heavy rain across the weekend.”


The weather system was already bringing hazardous surf conditions and abnormally high tides.

Some coastal areas could be lashed by 90kmh winds and receive daily rainfall totals of up to 300mm if the cyclone continues its current path.

A severe weather warning remains in place from the Fraser Coast to the NSW border.

2. Gwyneth Paltrow denies causing ski crash.

Gwyneth Paltrow has said a skier who accused her in a lawsuit of seriously injuring him at a resort was actually the one who ploughed into her from behind.

Paltrow’s lawyer alleges in a counter claim filed in court that the actor suffered a full “body blow” when Terry Sanderson smashed into her on a beginner run at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah, on February 26 2016.

The actor said she was shaken and stopped skiing with her family for the day.

She said Sanderson apologised to her and said he was fine.

“She did not knock him down,” Paltrow’s court filing said.

“He knocked her down. He was not knocked out.”

Her account differs greatly from Sanderson’s.

He alleged in the lawsuit filed on January 29 that Paltrow was skiing out of control and crashed into him.

Sanderson, a retired optometrist, said in his lawsuit that he was knocked out and suffered a brain injury and four broken ribs.

He referred to it as a “hit and run” and is seeking $US3.1 million ($A4.3m) in damages.