Rosie Batty, a Victorian mother who became an anti-domestic violence advocate after her son was murdered by her former partner, has shared her story on an emotional episode of Anh’s Brush with Fame.
Batty tearfully recalled the night her 11-year-old son, Luke was bludgeoned to death with a cricket bat by his father, Greg Anderson at cricket training in Victoria, in February 2012.
“They wouldn’t let me go to him, yeah, and it was really hard,” she said.
“It got to hours sitting in the police car, literally hours and you’re in shock, so you’re really not aware of time.
“I said, ‘I want to go and see my little boy,’ and they said, ‘No, Rosie. No. We’re looking after him.’
“But for him to be alone at night and cold, it was just horrible.
“You can never imagine the pain that’s possible and you can never imagine that you would ever, ever have to face that about your child and there was nothing, anything that could be done.”
As Batty retold the story, the show's host, Anh Do (who paints the guest as they tell their story) began to tear up.
Police fatally shot Luke's father at Tyabb cricket ground after discovering the attack.
“I think I’m lucky in an unlucky way that Greg actually did die,” she explains.
“And when I say that, it’s because I didn’t have to go through a criminal trial and also, I don’t have to deal with mixed emotions about Luke being dead and Greg being alive.
“I felt Greg was a tortured soul. I don’t hate him. I feel a lot of sorrow for his family.”
She went on to recall an incident where she was attacked by her husband.
“There was one incident where Greg assaulted me, and it was really frightening, I was frightened, Luke was frightened,” she said.
“Basically, it had escalated to Greg pretty much chasing me around the house and I was screaming into the phone for the police to come.
“It was the first time, really, I was really frightened physically.
“As soon as he kind of, I don’t know, kicked me or threw me on the ground and stuff, he’d left and Luke said to me, ‘I’m sorry, Mum. I’m too little,’ and I just said, you know, ‘This is not your place.’”
Following this incident, a magistrate barred Anderson from seeing Luke at any time other than cricket practice.
Rosie believes that this is what led Anderson to want to murder their son.
“Luke came to me and said, ‘Oh, Mum, I haven’t seen Dad for a while. He’s asked me if I can have a few extra minutes,’ and I thought, ‘Aw, that’s nice.’
“You know, he hasn’t seen Greg for a while, and Greg’s in a good mood and this is a lovely night, and all is good.
“So I said, ‘Sure you can, mate.’
“I knew where Luke and Greg were. I had just invited somebody over for dinner, and the next thing, there was this noise, a human noise, but a noise of anguish I’ve never heard before.”
In that time, Luke was beaten to death and stabbed several times by his father.
Batty's grief led her to become a powerful voice for victims of domestic violence and she was subsequently named Australian of the Year in 2015.
She explained that working as a domestic violence campaigner helps her deal with the death of her son.
"I think, well, providing I am making some difference, then I know Luke hasn’t died in vain. “But I think of so many women and so many children who are terrorised and living in their homes with no choice, no safety, nowhere to go.
“It does make you feel better to push through and do them and know that you’ll always have a degree of sadness, but you don’t have to let it consume you and pull you into an abyss you can’t get out of.
“But I feel compelled to keep doing what I’m doing.
“It’s ironic that I’ve never been so personally rewarded on every level, except it’s happened in a way that no-one would want to have happen.”
The touching episode ended with Do gifting Rosie with a portrait of her and her late son, Luke.