by Natalie Wolfe
IN A heartbreaking on-camera interview, the grandmother and mother of the five-year-old Sydney boy brutally stabbed in his bed late last week have spoken about their attempts to get the man accused of his murder help.
The boy's grandmother was called a hero by police after she found her grandson dying in his bed on Friday morning and immediately tried to get him help, frantically driving around the northwest Sydney suburb before calling for help outside a childcare centre.
The boy's grandmother was returning to the family's Carlingford home on Friday morning after dropping his mother at a nearby hospital where she worked as a nurse when she found the five-year-old with numerous stab wounds.
Speaking to 7 News, the grandmother said she looked at her son, the 36-year-old father of the boy, and repeatedly asked him, "What have you done?"
The grandmother said she then bundled up her critically injured grandson and made her way out of the house.
The grandmother and her son's partner are now calling for an independent inquiry into the state's mental health system, claiming health professionals failed the 36-year-old and turned him away from facilities on numerous occasions.
"I begged them, 'Oh please, please, please, please, please, please find him a bed, please,'" the grandmother said.
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Two days before he allegedly stabbed his son to death, the grandmother had turned up to a mental facility in Hornsby and pleaded with them to take him.
Staff at the Hornsby facility told the mother to take her son to a hospital emergency department where he could be admitted, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Hornsby Hospital has since said there would have been room for him in its emergency mental health ward.
It is understood the 36-year-old father was repeatedly turned away from mental health facilities in the week leading up to the stabbing.
The father first tried to get help at a mental health facility in Castle Hill but instead had his medication doubled, according to 9 News.
He then went to another facility in Hornsby and asked for help but was told there weren't any spare beds. On a third attempt, he returned to the same Castle Hill facility where he was again turned away and given more medication.
The family claims the medication he was prescribed was making his mental health worse.
Finally, the day before he allegedly stabbed his son to death, the father was waiting on a mental health team to visit the family's home - but they never showed up.
The father was discharged from Hornsby three weeks before the alleged murder and had been put on the medication the family claims was worsening his condition. He had also recently been forced to take time off work due to mental health issues.
The boy's mother has now given permission for her son's picture to be shown so the world can see him for the happy boy he once was.
The boy's mum also claimed she had been asking the system for help for "some years" before her partner allegedly stabbed their son.
Yesterday, the boy's mother said she "still loved" her partner, despite the alleged murder.
"Daddy loved his son," the boy's mother told 7 News.
"He would not do anything against that boy. It's not true, I keep telling myself, no it's not true."
When the mother and grandmother were asked if they believed the five-year-old's death was preventable, both of them said "yes".
"It's just not him," the mother said.
The boy's grandma was treated for shock Friday morning after her frantic attempt to save the boy's life.
Paramedics tended to the five-year-old outside a childcare centre after his grandmother ran hundreds of metres up a street to find him help.
"The level of violence is horrendous … it's probably about as bad as it gets," Superintendent Rob Critchlow told reporters on Friday.
Supt Critchlow said the grandmother's efforts had been "heroic".
"She's behaved in a heroic and caring manner, as you would imagine a grandmother would," he said.
"She's been presented with something terrible, and done her best to get the young boy to safety and to get him treatment.
"Sadly, despite her best efforts, there was nothing more she could have done. We're grateful to her for what she did do at the scene. She's physically uninjured at this point, which we're pleased about. She's also assisting our investigation."
If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp. For help with depression, contact Beyondblue for a list of organisations that can help and if you are affected by domestic violence contact 1800 RESPECT or White Ribbon. In an emergency, contact 000.