We’re saddened by the news that James Stedman Roberts has been charged with the murder of his 5 year old stepson Leon Jayet-Cole . Our deepest and heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of the deceased child.
Police arrested Roberts on Tuesday, the fifth day of an investigation into the boy’s death. Judge Tony Couch remanded Roberts, a labourer, in custody until a High Court pre-trial call-over on June 19.
Kerry Cook, who appeared as defence counsel, said Roberts would not apply for bail and did not seek name suppression. Judge Couch said the police had opposed media applications to film and photograph Roberts at his court appearance, because it might affect their continuing investigation. He refused photography “at this early stage”. more here
Leon was admitted to hospital on Wednesday last week with serious head injuries, not long after he walked home from Northcote School, Papanui, at mid-day. His family have been left devastated by his death. His father said he was relieved Stedman Roberts would be prevented from attending his son’s funeral.
Leon’s brother (7) and sister (10) are now in the care of Child, Youth and Family (CYF) and his mother is believed to be pregnant with another child. Questions are bound to be raised about CYF’s previous involvement with the family, and whether Leon was perceived to be at risk.
Crowd funding has been raised and used to pay for Leon’s funeral, held at 1pm today at Avonhead Park Cemetery.