The father of a baby beaten by her own mother who later bragged about avoiding jail time has spoken out about the events.
In September last year Lorien Norman, from Adelaide, Australia, pleaded guilty to abusing her eight-month-old daughter Evie.
Lorien beat her baby with a kitchen serving spoon leaving her with bruises to her eyes, nose and cheeks, causing her to be hospitalised – Lorien was given a suspended jail sentence and a $500 fine.
Shane McMahon, the father of Evie, told UNILAD he was horrified when he heard about the brutal attack.
At first officials left him unsure of what had happened:
I had police knocking on my door on the morning of October 1 2016, also the anniversary of my father’s passing from cancer.
The police had mug shots of Lorien and a picture of Evie so I knew it was quite serious. They asked me if I had seen either of them but I hadn’t had contact with her for several months.
I asked police what was going on but they just said all they could tell me was that they needed to locate Lorien and Evie as soon as possible.
My brother lives just around the corner from Lorien’s apartment building so I asked him to go over there to see if he could make contact with her.
But as he got into her street the whole road was closed of by police and crime scene investigators.
Panicked by the lack of information, later on that day Shane got a call from Major Crime detectives.
They told me I needed to get down to the women’s and children’s hospital as Everly had been rushed there with possibly life threatening head injuries.
According to the forensic reports Lorien called 000 threatening to throw Evie off her three-storey balcony. Later that day police gained access to Lorien’s apartment to find her passed out drunk and Evie in her cot with extensive head injuries.
Reports state she was hit with a minimum of eight separate forceful blows to the head and facial region, most likely with a metal kitchen object, a spoon or spatula.
When I arrived at the hospital, Evie was screaming in agony and shock, black and blue without a clue what was going on.
It literally broke me, I collapsed to the floor in shock and disbelief.
Although Shane is still unsure why the attack occurred, he believes Lorien ‘would have been drunk and probably got joy out of causing [him] grief on the anniversary of his father’s passing’.
The maximum sentence for an offence like this is 13 years behind bars, but 26-year-old Lorien instead received a small fine and two-year good behaviour bond.
Initially she claimed Evie got her injuries thanks to a fall in a playground before later pleading guilty to aggravated assault causing harm.
District Court judge, Jack Costello, handed down the sentence stating Norman’s offence wasn’t serious enough to send her to prison.
As reported by News.com.au, Judge Costello told the court:
Whilst any assault of a child, particularly one of such a tender age and vulnerability, by a parent stands as a gross breach of trust, your offending is nevertheless far from the most serious of offending of this type in terms of the degree of force involved and the duration of the offending.
In this respect I particularly note the opinion of the treating paediatrician to the effect that there was no evidence of bony or intracranial injury and that your daughter’s physical injuries were likely to completely resolve.
You have also had a significant history of drug (particularly cannabis) and alcohol abuse. Despite your troubled and somewhat dissolute past life there is guarded cause for optimism in that you have taken steps to turn your life around.
You are clearly remorseful for your actions.
When he heard about the sentencing, Shane was ‘absolutely devastated’:
13 years her sentence carried and she walks free with less than what you pay for a speeding fine these days. The judge’s comments where completely inadequate and made with no care for Everly’s justice.
All he seemed to be doing was protecting the mother. She showed remorse in court and the judge bought the whole thing.
He was further angered when he received texts from Lorien bragging about how she escaped a tougher sentence.
The messages read:
So, I’m not going to jail. What’s your next move?
I’ll send you photos in October. Cute family photos of myself, Indi, Evie, my sister, her partner and my nephew Hudson.
Even with everyone on social media against me, I still made it. And I’ll be having part custody within a year
Even though physically Evie is back to normal, Shane believes the attack could cause his daughter long-term mental health problems.
She has had all of her innocence abused and taken away from her. She wouldn’t sleep after the assault, she would cower at the slightest movement to her face.
She has recovered physically but still to young to determine any psychological needs. It could affect her for a very long period of her life.
She should never have had to go though what she did. No child should.
Currently in family court with a case, Shane now fights for changes to be made to the law which will protect children like Evie.
Setting up the Evie’s Journey campaign, Shane isn’t giving up hope:
The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness to these sickening injustices and try to get some much needed change.
We have been working with the Hon. Robert Brokenshire. We introduced a bill into parliament last year calling for mandatory jail time for perpetrators of serious domestic violence.
Unfortunately it wasn’t passed, we lost that battle but we’re still fighting the war.
I don’t think the laws should change, they have to change something has to happen.
How can so many cases similar to these have such ridiculous verdicts favouring the parent or perpetrator?
Court is supposed to be designed to protect the victim, yet we are failing the most important victims of them all -our children.
Keep fighting Shane!
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence regarding the welfare of a child contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000. If you are a child seeking advice and support call Childline for free on 0800 1111.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.