Warning: This article contains information about child abuse, which may be distressing for some readers.
A mother who murdered her toddler in central-western NSW has wept as her sister read out an enraged victim impact statement in a Sydney court.
Three-year-old Joseph’s mother and stepfather, who can’t be named for legal reasons, were found guilty in April of murdering him at Oberon, near Bathurst, in August 2014.
Crown prosecutor Margaret Cunneen SC said the couple inflicted “gratuitous violence” on the “defenceless” boy during the seven weeks he was in their care after having lived with his grandmother since he was three-months-old.
"The victim's death must have been terrifying, prolonged and horrific," she told the NSW Supreme Court at the couple's sentencing hearing.
Joseph's aunt said the way her sister and brother-in-law treated the child "is beyond forgiveness".
"The moment she allowed another man to raise his hand to you... she stopped being my sister.
"She stopped being your mother and it was the moment I decided she was dead to me."
— 7 News Sydney (@7NewsSydney) August 11, 2017
Sitting in the dock with her husband, the mother wiped tears from her face as her sister recalled loving and playful times at home with Joseph.