Stepdad's resentment: 'The hardest thing was looking at him and not seeing me'

2019-06-11 11:00:30

Baby Lincoln was quiet when his mother Samantha Heyworth got him up on that final day.

"He loved looking at his hands," she said in court, recalling how her first-born was entertaining himself when she went in to see him.

At nearly five months old he would reach out for his bottle and often fed himself propped up on a bean bag.

"I put him on my knee and had a little chat to him."

Heyworth, known as Sammie, said she was upset to be leaving him that day to go to work but her new partner Will Wakefield, who she met after she became pregnant, had said she needed to pay her fair share.

Her maternity leave money had run out so she went back to her hairdressing job four days a week while he cared for Lincoln. He did marketing and IT and could work from home where he also played computer games.

When Heyworth was paid the money went to him. "He said if I ever needed anything I could ask for it, but I had to have a valid reason."

Wakefield, about eight years her senior, was still in bed when she left the flat they shared on Upper Hutt's Fergusson Drive at about 8.30am on June 11, 2018.

The couple had met on the online dating site Tinder about a year earlier, he told police. Within two years of meeting a baby had been born, killed, and Wakefield found guilty of its murder.

Heyworth said in court that when she and Wakefield met in person they just "clicked", the same word he used to police.

A staggering number of Facebook messages passed between them, so many the police officer who looked through them said he couldn't find a way to count them, but if he had printed them out it would have amounted to 5900 pages.

Detective Sam McKenzie said that in longer messages Wakefield told her off for things he thought she'd done wrong. When Heyworth wrote longer messages it was to say how much she loved him, or apologising.

Wakefield would pick on something small and she would apologise. Once she didn't wear the engagement ring he gave her, another day she misspelt "tired". One day he became upset that she didn't put a "x" at the end of a message to indicate her love for him.

From the messages it appeared Wakefield dominated the relationship and money was used to control her, McKenzie said.

On June 11, 2018, Heyworth had wanted to buy a necklace using an expected tax refund. Wakefield thought it might be a good idea to get a tattoo machine.

She suggested she put the necklace on layby and thought he had agreed, but the card she used didn't work and he found out.

Wakefield berated her, calling her, "bloody annoying". She could only say, "Yeah, I know I am".

He softened a bit when they spoke by phone in her lunch break, and she apologised again.

Money was a problem between them. She admitted having bad spending habits in the past, but he used it against her and kept money from her. Lincoln wore hand-me-downs from her sister's child. Wakefield thought they used too much baby formula and when she wanted to buy Lincoln merino underclothes she was told to get thermals from The Warehouse.

McKenzie said many messages looked like Wakefield was seeking attention, even on the day Lincoln was born – by an emergency caesarean operation – he was diverting attention from the baby to himself, but generally messages from both of them expressed love for Lincoln.

One had mortified her though – Wakefield sent her a photo of Lincoln with a hairband wrapped around his head holding a dummy in his mouth. Despite her alarm she didn't feel able to stand up to him, she said.

He didn't encourage her family to visit, even though her sister lived nearby, and she had not met his family who lived at a distance. She agreed he and her mother did not get on, and he was self-conscious about being overweight.

He told her not to post photographs of Lincoln for friends and workmates on social media, and he didn't like her leaving the flat when she was looking after Lincoln.

She was a first-time mother and he described himself to police as "Captain Pro" when it came to bringing up children. She agreed his daughter was a good kid and she gave him some credit for that.

At about two months Wakefield wanted Lincoln to sleep in the room Wakefield's visiting daughter used on alternate weeks, but when Lincoln would wake her during the night Wakefield said to put Lincoln's bassinet in the bathtub. Heyworth thought the bathroom was cold. While Lincoln spent some nights in there Heyworth said she also moved him when the others were asleep.

She deferred to Wakefield in caring for the baby but after a few weeks he seemed more disinterested. He would later explain to police that he wanted to love Lincoln and tried his best.

"The hardest thing was looking at him and not seeing me."

Inside the flat, complete with Wakefield's extensive computer set up for gaming and his work, police found pamphlets about avoiding shaken baby syndrome and how to cope with a crying baby.

It eventually emerged that weeks before Lincoln had been crying and Wakefield shook him and hit the back of his head. Lincoln survived but inside his head damage was caused that made him even more vulnerable to the later injury.

Lincoln hadn't been crying the day he was killed. In Wakefield's evolving story of what happened, from the made-up account of being dropped while being bathed, to being shaken to try to make him respond after being dropped, to the final version that Wakefield was angry that he was another man's son, and although he said at first he didn't mean to hurt Lincoln, then he did and kept shaking him.

Heyworth said Lincoln's biological father had been younger and immature. It was Wakefield's name on the birth certificate, she said. Wakefield told her she was lucky to find someone mature like him, someone who had his "head on".

The next record of Lincoln's short life was the death notice where the biological father, not Wakefield, was named.

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