Jason Cobb has spoken out about his son’s death.
Jason Cobb has spoken out about his son’s death.

Tyrell’s dad: ‘They can rot in hell’

THE father of four-year-old Tyrell Cobb, who died as a result of a blow to his stomach, says his son's mother and her partner should "rot in hell" after being sentenced for his manslaughter.

Tyrell's mum Heidi Strzbak, 34, was jailed for nine years yesterday for violently lashing out at her son while deprived of cannabis on the Gold Coast in May 2009, according to evidence presented in Brisbane Supreme Court.

Strzbak's then-partner Matthew Scown also pleaded guilty to Tyrell's manslaughter, but walked free from court having already spent two years and eight months behind bars.

Tyrell Cobb died after sustaining shocking injuries. Picture: Channel 7
Tyrell Cobb died after sustaining shocking injuries. Picture: Channel 7

Speaking to A Current Affair on Monday night, Tyrell's father Jason Cobb slammed the former couple as "disgusting people".

"If they're responsible, they can rot in hell," he said.

Mr Cobb was particularly hurt by footage of Scown smiling and laughing as he walked out of the court in October having been handed a suspended sentence.

"That's like a slap in the face, basically," he said.

"If you want to smile like that, have some remorse, but he had none."

Justice Peter Applegarth found Strzbak likely punched Tyrell in the stomach in frustration then chose not to seek medical help to avoid a child protection investigation.

Despite her guilty plea, Strzbak maintained in court that she did not hurt her son.

"I have not caused the injuries that I am being blamed for and I believe that it is a mistake, an injustice," she said.

Heidi Strzbak maintains she didn’t hurt her son Tyrell. Picture: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt
Heidi Strzbak maintains she didn’t hurt her son Tyrell. Picture: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt

Scown pleaded guilty to manslaughter in September on the basis of failing to take Tyrell to the doctor, but said he was not responsible for the fatal blows to the boy's stomach. The judge agreed.

For Mr Cobb, these details are inconsequential.

"They can argue he said, she said; it doesn't matter. They were both there, they're both responsible," he told ACA.

Matthew Scown smiles after a camera man chasing him fell over outside the Brisbane Supreme Court in October 11. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
Matthew Scown smiles after a camera man chasing him fell over outside the Brisbane Supreme Court in October 11. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

Strzbak sobbed and shook her head in the dock as evidence was read out in court on Monday, but Mr Cobb said he had no sympathy for her after hearing the "pretty devastating" facts.

"If she gets what she deserves, I'll be happy. She can go to jail and I'll be happy," he said.

"Not happy, but happy for Tyrell."

Mr Cobb choked up as he explained how he would remember his son as a "happy little boy, playful, cheeky".

Tyrell was last seen at preschool on a Friday in May of 2009 with no observable injuries other than a bandaged hand, which he had caught in a toy box a week earlier.

By the Sunday night, he was dead with his tiny body covered in bruises.

One of the marks included a "smiley face" scar on his leg that was caused by a heated cigarette lighter at least four to six weeks earlier.

Tyrell Cobb’s body was found with a cigarette lighter scar on the leg. Picture: Channel 7
Tyrell Cobb’s body was found with a cigarette lighter scar on the leg. Picture: Channel 7

"The last hours of his life must have been miserable and painful," Justice Applegarth said.

Defence barrister Greg McGuire argued Strzbak had been made "public enemy number one" by negative publicity throughout her case.

Justice Applegarth said it was easy for Strzbak to be perceived as "some kind of monster" but her case was only the "tip of an iceberg".

"The tragic fact is that there are tens of thousands of young mothers who can be frustrated and distressed and verbally abuse their infants or physically abuse them," he said.

Tyrell’s father Jason leaves the Supreme Court in Brisbane earlier this month. Picture: AAP Image/Glenn Hun
Tyrell’s father Jason leaves the Supreme Court in Brisbane earlier this month. Picture: AAP Image/Glenn Hun

"Unless we as a community learn from this terrible case, it's inevitable that there will be another case like it."

Strzbak, who has so far spent two months in custody, will be eligible for parole in October 2021.

- with AAP



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