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Killer Dad Freed
Child Victim-"Danny Dell"
A man who beat his four-year-old son to death over several days has been released from prison after serving 5 1/2 years.
Shane Michael Shanks,
then 29, was jailed for a maximum of 10 years in 2006 for the manslaughter of Danny Dell at Dodges Ferry the previous year.
An autopsy found the little boy had suffered 79 separate injuries, probably caused by multiple beatings, but he would have lived if he had received medical help in time.
He had extensive bruising to his pelvis, buttocks and thighs, and injuries to his neck consistent with being forcibly grabbed around the throat.
Shanks called 000 only when Danny started vomiting through his nose. He claimed his son had fallen from a bunk. Danny died in hospital.
Shanks was initially charged with murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
A Parole Board decision released yesterday revealed that Shanks was let out of jail earlier this week.
The decision noted that the killing had been Shanks's first offence and he had worked hard to rehabilitate himself in prison and had a job lined up on the outside.
"He stated his actions will be with him for the rest of his life," the decision said. "He deeply regrets his actions and the pain he has caused to others."
It noted that Danny's mother and grandparents were still deeply affected by the crime.
"The victims have suffered immensely and we have taken their suffering into account in considering this application for parole.
"The shock and horror over the events leading to the death of a small boy is still having a deep and profound psychological impact on all the close relatives."
Danny's maternal grandfather, Leigh Dell, this week told a newspaper he was gutted to hear Shanks would be released.
"It is possible to do more jail time for selling drugs or robbing a bank but to torture a baby and finally kill him, well that's only manslaughter and you get 10 years and out in six," Mr Dell said.
"This is the so-called justice system in Tasmania."
Shanks will remain on parole until October 2015.
The Mercury (27-5-2011)
Listing Australian Convicted Paedophiles/ Sex Offenders/ Child Killers..
FREE Public Service..
Child killer's jail term branded pathetic
A father who became his four-year-old son's tormentor, abused him for days and ignored
his slow death could walk from prison in four years.
Justice Peter Evans yesterday sentenced Shane Michael Shanks, 29, who pleaded guilty to
his son Danny Dell's manslaughter, to 10 years' jail. He will be eligible
for parole in October 2010.
Danny's maternal grandfather Leigh Dell angrily branded the sentence pathetic and said
Shanks had robbed Danny of a long life.
"If I shot you, I'd get 20 years," he said. "If I stabbed you, I'd get 20 years.
"I can beat a child to death over a two-week period, basically torture a person to
death, and do less than five years.
"I'd like to go back to hanging."
Danny's grim-faced mother Crystel Dell, 23, listened with her new baby Shenae who was
born this year, months after her half-brother's death.
Justice Evans said Danny and his father had enjoyed a normal relationship that had
descended into an utterly deplorable state for no clear reason.
He said Danny had first shown signs of abuse two weeks before his death and concluded
that Shanks had caused a great majority, if not all, of his injuries.
"His abuse of his son extended over a period of days," Justice Evans said.
He said Shanks had witnessed his son's deterioration but had not called the doctor because
of his "selfish concern that it would reveal the extent of his abuse".
"Horrendous as Danny's injuries were, they were treatable and, had he received timely treatment,
his life may have been saved," Justice Evans said.
Danny died in October last year at the Royal Hobart Hospital after his father had called 000,
claiming his son had fallen from a bunk bed and was "spewing out of his nose".
A friend of Shanks saw Danny five days before his death in a distressed state walking from his
bedroom to the bathroom to vomit.
Justice Evans said Shanks had failed to protect and provide for Danny and instead had become
"his son's tormentor and ultimately the instrument of his death".
Doctors found "very, very, very extensive superficial bruising" on Danny's body, probably caused
by multiple beatings of the head, abdomen and chest.
A doctor who examined Danny's battered body after his death said an implement had likely been
used to inflict the extensive bruises on his pelvis, buttocks and thigh.
She said the bruising around his neck and the angle of his jaw was consistent with his having
been forcibly grabbed around the throat.
The autopsy report listed 79 separate or composite signs of violence or injury and concluded
head injuries and bruising probably contributed to Danny's death.
Another potentially fatal internal injury was probably inflicted three days to a week before
the death when Danny was trailbike-riding with his dad.
Shanks was originally charged with murder but prosecutors then offered him the opportunity to
plead to manslaughter.
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