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Burglar Jailed For 'Evil' Murder Of Baby In Cot
A burglar who murdered a 10-month-old boy by hitting him more than 30 times in the face and head has been jailed for life in Australia.
Harley Hicks will serve a minimum of 32 years behind bars after the judge said his crime was "utterly evil".
The 21-year-old, who denied the killing, had shown no remorse for the ferocious attack on Zayden Veal-Whitting as he lay in his cot, said Supreme Court Justice Stephen Kaye.
Hicks bludgeoned the baby to death with a homemade baton made of copper wire wrapped in tape in a burglary spree in Bendigo, Victoria state in June 2012.
Zayden's mother found her severely beaten son as she went into his room to wake him and pulled back a blanket covering his face.
He was then taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The Bendigo court heard Hicks told police he was high on drugs at the time, but gave no reason why he attacked the baby.
However, his defence team had suggested it was because he disturbed the infant.
Sentencing Hicks, Mr Kaye said: "He (Zayden) was utterly harmless, defenceless and helpless.
"Any human being with even a shred of decency and humanity could only feel compassion, tenderness and protectiveness towards an infant in those circumstances.
"By contrast, you inflicted a brutal bashing, with a lethal instrument, on that baby. You crushed his skull, you savagely beat him with at least 30 blows."
The judge, who said Hicks had used marijuana and crystal meth before the murder, added: "It is almost unthinkable that any human being could have carried out such a sickening crime that you have committed.
"What you did was totally and utterly evil."
Hicks showed no emotion as the sentence was handed down.
Eleven cars and homes in the Bendigo neighbourhood were broken into the night of the murder and Hicks admitted carrying out some of them.
Items taken from Zayden's home and the baton used in the murder were found in a raid on his house, the court heard.