What neighbours heard before boy’s alleged murder
NEIGHBOURS "heard a young child screaming" on the day Victorian mum Joanne Finch is accused of murdering her eight-year-old son, Brodie.
Ms Finch, 41, appeared via video link at the Victorian County Court on Friday where she is charged with one count of murder.
Brodie was found dead inside the home he and his mother shared at Tootgarook, on the Mornington Peninsula, in March.
Magistrate Donna Bakos told the court "some noise" was reported by a neighbour on the day Ms Finch placed a frantic triple-zero call to police.
"Most witnesses say she was a loving mother and never displayed any inappropriate behaviour towards her son … other than some noise from the neighbour who heard a young child screaming," Ms Bakos said.
The comments followed a discussion between Ms Bakos and Ms Finch's lawyer, who was requesting the right to cross-examine witnesses.
The magistrate said the case was "extremely distressing" and witnesses should not be subjected to cross-examination before a potential trial, and that even if they were questioned they were unlikely to change their original stories.
Ms Finch wore a blue shirt and said she understood what was happening. "I do, your honour," the accused responded when asked if she was following along.
The matter was held over for a further committal mention in October 2. It was the 41-year-old's second appearance in court. She does not have a criminal history.
The Melbourne Magistrates' Court previously heard Ms Finch had been taking antidepressants.
The Herald Sun reports she allegedly told police she "heard voices in her head" and experienced a "momentary lapse" in reason before Brodie's alleged murder.
The details of how Brodie was found have not been released by police but a spokesman said the primary school student was dead by the time police arrived.
Police tape was erected around the home in the quiet, family-friendly street as forensic teams gathered evidence.
Ms Finch and Brodie moved into the home at Tootgarook 15 months ago and made friends with neighbours who said the boy was often seen playing in the front yard.
Pictures on social media show a seemingly happy family. Ms Finch is pictured smiling with her son on a number of trips. She shared moments including a video of his first time riding a bicycle.
Before Brodie's tragic death, Ms Finch posted a petition on her Facebook page calling for a stricter sentence for a South Australian mum who admitted the aggravated assault of her eight-month-old daughter.
Brodie's father, Lee Moran, was not in court on Friday. A representative for the family told news.com.au he was in China, where he lives and works.
Mr Moran wrote on Facebook in March that he had "lost the best part of" himself. In a statement through Victoria Police, he said he has only one regret.
"My deepest regret is that I wasn't there," he said.
Mr Moran said he was thankful to "old friends, concerned parents and strangers on the other side of the world" who have reached out to him, and that he wishes there was a simple explanation.
"People will always have their own assumptions as to what lead up to my beautiful son's death … but the truth is there is no other story.
"Although Joanne and I had separated in July 2015, I never stopped loving, caring and supporting my son both emotionally and financially. Brodie and I had a weekly face time (video phone call) session together when he would share with great enthusiasm all that he had done that week.
"At no point did I, or anyone around Brodie and Joanne, feel that he was in danger."
He said Brodie lived a short life filled with love and compassion for others.
"If I could be half the person my son was, I would be proud. He lived a life in his eight short years that many others may not live in a lifetime.
"When remembering Brodie it is with happiness of his warm cheeky smile and loving caring nature, and this is a gift he has left us all."