A Melbourne mother’s worst fears were confirmed when a Supreme Court jury found her then-boyfriend guilty of murdering her young son four years ago in a fit of desperation.
Just an hour after leaving home for a cleaning job in 2019, Stacy Saggers, already on edge, knew something wasn’t right.
She texted her new live-in boyfriend, Brendan Pallant, multiple times asking for updates on her two-year-old son Jaideen Gomez-Sebastiao, who she put down for a nap before she left.
But he couldn’t get a direct response, so he started asking friends for a lift home, saying it was ‘urgent’.
Much to Mrs Sagger’s concern, Jaydeen had been injured twice in the past four days – with large cuts on her face and a swollen right eye.
Two-year-old Jaideen Gomez-Sebastião (above) was beaten to death with a metal table leg on September 2, 2019.
Despite this, she said Jaidyn was her ‘happy little self’.
The injuries occurred while she was leaving Jaideen in Palant’s care, but were explained as having been caused by the toddler dropping a white cube storage shelf – used as a bookcase – on herself in her bedroom.
Shortly after 4pm on September 2, 2019, Ms. Saggers’ worst fears were confirmed as Jaydeen’s lifeless body was found face down on her bedroom floor.
After a five-week trial, a Supreme Court jury on Tuesday afternoon found Pallant killed Zeidin during what prosecutors called a ‘brief but intense period of stress and frustration’.
He pleaded not guilty, arguing with his barrister Rishi Nathwani that the investigation had been colored by prejudice from the start and suggesting that the police had not taken Mrs Sagars seriously as another possible culprit.
An autopsy later determined that Zaidin died of a complex brain injury caused by ‘moderate to severe’ blunt force trauma to his head.
Forensic pathologist Dr Michael Burke, who conducted the post-mortem, told the trial that the ‘extensive’ injuries observed were unlikely to have been caused by an accident.
‘I believe it was caused by an attack,’ he said.
A jury on Tuesday found Brendan Pallant (left), the then-boyfriend of Zaideen’s mother, guilty of murdering the two-year-old.
Prosecutors, led by Mark Gibson KC, told the jury Palant entered Jaydin’s bedroom sometime between 12.26pm and 2.47pm, pulled the child by the hair and assaulted her.
The metal leg of a table, usually located next to a bedroom door, was fatally struck.
Pallant then left Jaydeen, who survived for ‘ten minutes’ alone, only to be frightened by the discovery shortly after 4pm.
‘There was a brief but profound period of loss of control, frustration and anger that led to Jedyn’s death,’ Mr Gibson said.
He urged the jury to find Palant responsible for the earlier injuries and staged the room to make it look like an accident.
‘The Crown says it is no coincidence that the injuries occurred at a time when Mr Pallant was experiencing personal distress and stress,’ he said.
‘He concocted a scenario to remove the hurt.’
Pallant’s lawyers tried to paint Jaydin’s mother, Stacy Saggers (above), as responsible for her son’s death during the five-week trial.
Mr Nathwani argued that investigators were ‘blinker’ by preconceived notions and believed his client was guilty from the start.
They ignored, he argued, that Ms Saggers had accidentally killed Jaydeen in a ‘profound loss of self-control’ before going to work.
He said the evidence showed his methamphetamine addiction was spiraling out of control and the financial stress hanging over his head had increased.
‘Joydin had problems because he couldn’t get people to look after him,’ he said.
Mr Nathwani argued, based on the evidence, that Palant had attempted CPR after discovering Jeddin’s body and had no intention of doing so.
But Mr Gibson argued, and the jury accepted, that explanation ‘doesn’t make sense’.
Pallant (above) has been remanded in custody and will return to the Supreme Court at a later date.
‘If anything, we submit to you, this is just another day in the kind of chaotic life that Mrs. Saggers was living,’ he said.
‘We say September 2 was just like any other day, it wasn’t the catalyst for something as heinous as this.’
Pallant was remanded in custody and will return to the Supreme Court at a later date.