The parents of Hemi Goodwin-Burke have started an online petition to stop their child's killer being released on parole.
The parents of Hemi Goodwin-Burke have started an online petition to stop their child's killer being released on parole. Goodwin-Burke Family

Family's fight to stop NQ child killer's parole

THE parents of Hemi Goodwin-Burke are fighting to keep child killer Matthew Ireland in jail over fears he could be released in less than three weeks if the Parole Board votes yes.

So far more than 3500 people have signed an online petition in just over 14 hours.

Shane Burke and Kerri-Ann Goodwin were devastated after learning last week Ireland had made a bid for freedom.

"This wasn't an accident. He beat Hemi to death. I just think it's so insulting to Hemi's memory and to the Queensland community as well," Mr Burke said.

 

Parents of Moranbah toddler Hemi Goodwin-Burke, Shane Burke and Kerri-Ann Goodwin.
Parents of Moranbah toddler Hemi Goodwin-Burke, Shane Burke and Kerri-Ann Goodwin. Madura McCormack

Ireland was jailed for eight and a half years for manslaughter over the Moranbah tot's death in March 2015 with parole eligibility on May 24.

"Four years is not long enough for rehabilitation," Ms Goodwin said.

"We want to keep our community safe.

"A child's life is worth more than four years."

Ms Goodwin said the Parole Board needed to start listening to the victim's families.

"The community agrees that these sentences are not adequate. It went to the Sentencing Advisory... and the government brought in new laws to try and fix the problem," Mr Burke said.

 

Hemi Goodwin-Burke was bashed to death by his babysitter Matthew Ireland.
Hemi Goodwin-Burke was bashed to death by his babysitter Matthew Ireland. Goodwin-Burke Family

The couple were concerned that of the four years in jail, Ireland spent about half the time on remand waiting to be sentenced and as a result did not have access to any rehabilitation programs.

"If prison is for rehabilitation then what is it for," Mr Burke said.

They have requested to make their case in person to the Parole Board about why Ireland should not be granted parole so soon.

"We know it's unheard of, there's guidelines we have to follow," Ms Goodwin said.

"But only 18 months of rehabilitation is not enough time."

Ms Goodwin said they were overwhelmed by the support for the petition is such a short period of time.

"It seems to have taken off and we're grateful to everyone who has taken the time to sign it," Mr Burke said.


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