‘Justice for Leith’ as killer’s name revealed

Kate Hutchison holds  her favourite photo of her son Leith Hutchison and a jumpsuit he used to...
Kate Hutchison holds her favourite photo of her son Leith Hutchison and a jumpsuit he used to wear all the time. Leith was killed by his father Dane Blake two and a-half years ago. Photo: Greymouth Star.
Finally lifting name suppression of the man who killed 15-month-old Greymouth toddler Leith Hutchison two and a-half years ago is ‘‘justice for Leith’’, his mother said yesterday.

The day after Dane Blake was unmasked in court as her baby’s killer, Kate Hutchison reflected on how the life was sucked out of her the day her child died.

There is still sadness in her eyes and she misses her baby every day, but is trying to move on with her life — ‘‘but I will never forget him and I wish he was still here’’.

Blake (32) killed the child he fathered with Ms Hutchison by shaking him until he lost consciousness after he would not stop crying while Blake was babysitting him at his Cobden home in 2015.

Blake’s name suppression ended in the Christchurch District Court on Wednesday  when he was sentenced to a further six months’ jail on three separate drug charges, having earlier this year been jailed for five and a-half years for Leith’s manslaughter. Blake accepted a manslaughter plea bargain.

Ms Hutchison said she ‘‘saw red’’ yesterday when told a Christchurch newspaper had carried a two-page story about Blake, based on a series of letters he had written to the paper.

‘‘What is he trying to prove? I’m everywhere [in the newspaper article] and there’s just one of his mug,’’ she said.

‘‘Since this happened it has been me and Leith in the spotlight because Dane has had name suppression, and today here we are again.

‘‘Leith and I are the victims in all of this.’’

Ms Hutchison said her name had been ‘‘dragged through the mud’’, when all she had done was give birth to a ‘‘beautiful baby boy’’.

When she found out Blake was Leith’s dad she believed she was doing the right thing by letting them get to know each other.

‘‘Any child deserves to have a mother and a father, and I let Leith be with his dad.’’

Recalling that fateful night when she  left Leith in Blake’s care, she recounted being woken by the police and told her boy ‘‘wasn’t well’’.

She just wished Blake had called her when Leith would not settle, or had taken him back to her place, which was only a short distance away.

‘‘He could have come around and woken me up. He could have said, ‘I can’t get Leith settled’.’’

She had not known until it was too late Blake had not been coping.

‘‘From what I saw, he was a good dad.’’

With two other children, Ms Hutchison said she had to stay strong for the sake of their future, while remembering Leith every day.

Her eldest child Issac, who was 3 when Leith died, often talked about his baby brother.‘‘Issac lost his best friend, his little brother, his everything.

‘‘When we go to the park or the pool and Issac sees other kids with their little brothers or sisters, it breaks him and that breaks me.’’

She would always blame herself, Ms Hutchison said.

‘‘I loved my baby boy as much as I possibly could have, and I didn’t save him.’’

Despite counselling, she struggled to talk about what happened.

‘‘I wish I could turn back the clock and I wish Leith was still here.’’ 

- Vivi Logie

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