Gaming-obsessed dad pleads guilty to shaking infant son to death

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A gaming-obsessed Australian dad shook his newborn son to death after the innocent baby’s cries disrupted his game, a court heard.

Joseph McDonald, 23, pleaded guilty to child homicide in the heinous 2019 killing of 7-week-old Lucas McDonald in Victoria’s Supreme Court on Friday.

The father confessed to shaking the infant, placing him back in his rocker, then returning to play his PlayStation before falling asleep, 9News Sydney reported.

He faces up to 20 years in jail.

“The noise of Lucas crying because he was in the same lounge room, was interrupting [McDonald’s] game … he couldn’t concentrate on his game,” said Lucas’ grandmother Sharon Mills, according to 9News.

“He couldn’t play his game, so he broke.”

Prosecutors charge that on Oct. 24, 2019, McDonald shook Lucas and used “blunt force trauma” on his son.

“Whether that be by striking Lucas directly to the head or causing Lucas to hit his head on another object … it is difficult to say,” said prosecutor Mark Gibson, according to Australia Broadcasting Corporation.

He then lied to his former partner and the mother of the child, as well as doctors, about what had happened, 9News reported.

When medical scans showed Lucas sustained blunt force trauma and that his injuries could not have been caused by accident, McDonald fled the hospital, the report said.

He ultimately turned himself in to police.

Lucas’ grieving mother said Friday that McDonald does not have a right to call himself a parent.

“He doesn’t have the right to the title of being a dad, as far as I’m concerned, so I think that will be his life sentence,” said Sam Duckmanton, according to 9News.

In court, Duckmanton called her son “perfect” and said she wished she could protect him.

“I was right next door, like if I had just let him do the dishes and I looked after Bubby [Lucas], he’d be alive today. That’s what’s going to eat me and I couldn’t protect him because I trusted Joseph,” the heartbroken mother said, Australia Broadcasting Corporation reported.

“Lucas was innocent and he couldn’t defend himself,” she said.

Duckmanton added, “It’s a coward’s act and you’re his dad, you’re supposed to protect him. To this day I don’t think I’m really ever going to know what was inside of his head at that point.”

The court also heard that in the weeks before he killed his son, McDonald had used his phone to search “anger management Benalla [an Australian city].”

McDonald’s attorney said his client was “deeply remorseful for what he has done,” the local media outlets reported.

“He feels like he should be punished appropriately for what he’s done, whatever that might be,” lawyer Colin Mandy said.

“He has not sought to lay blame at the feet of others, and by his plea, has spared family members the traumatic experience of reliving these events in the witness box,” said Mandy.

Court documents revealed that McDonald had anger issues, often used drugs and was obsessed with gaming.

“His compulsive involvement in gaming was a further trigger for irritability, both when he was confronted about his behavior as well as when he became frustrated with losing a game,” the attorney said.

In court documents, Mandy said the killing was “a spontaneous act of rage,” the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

McDonald is slated to be sentenced at a later date.

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