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23/04/17

BEREAVED mother Rosie Batty has left ABC-TV host Anh Do in tears after a profoundly moving interview about her “beautiful boy” Luke.

The domestic violence campaigner appeared on the second episode of this season of Anh’s Brush with Fame on the ABC on Wednesday night, in which comedian and artist Anh Do paints a portrait of a noted Australian while they reflect on their life story.

The show proved a deeply emotional one for both Rosie and Anh Do.Source:ABC

In a rare insight into Ms Batty’s life beyond the tragic murder that has publicly defined it, she told Do that she suddenly lost her mother at the age of six, and, she and her two brothers were not told of her death until after her funeral had been held.

The trauma of that event has haunted her throughout her life, so, when she accidentally fell pregnant with Luke, she told Do the thought of bringing a child into the world that she could one day lose terrified her.

“When I found out I was pregnant, I really was very overwhelmed,” she said.

Luke and Rosie on holiday.Source:Supplied

“Part of me was scared because I was going to be a single parent and I didn’t want a child because I was frightened I would lose a child.

“So, this is the kind of fear I’d had about something that you love so much, like my mum, you can lose at any time.”

Tragically, Ms Batty’s fears were realised when Luke’s father, Greg Anderson, bludgeoned the 11-year-old to death at cricket training at Tyabb, on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, in February 2012.

Ms Batty broke down several times as she recalled the hot summer night Luke died, when police would not let her near her son’s body and he lay for hours alone in the dark.

“They wouldn’t let me go to him, yeah, and it was really hard,” she said.

Rosie Batty and Greg Anderson with son Luke as a baby. Ms Batty described Luke as “the best thing that happened to me”.Source:News Limited

“It got to, you know, hours sitting in the police car, hours and hours, literally hours and you’re in shock, so you’re really not aware of time.

“I said, ‘I want to go and see my little boy,’ and they said, ‘No, Rosie. No. We’re looking after him.’

“But for him to be alone at night and cold, it was just horrible.

“You can never imagine the pain that’s possible and you can never imagine that you would ever, ever have to face that about your child and there was nothing, anything that could be done.”

Ms Batty’s sad recollection of the night her son died moved Do to tears, with the host seen wiping his eyes as the camera focused on him.

Anh Do wipes away a tear as Rosie recounts her tragic story.Source:ABC

Police who were called to the Tyabb cricket ground that night fatally shot Luke’s father, after capsicum spray failed to subdue him.

Ms Batty told Do that she felt fortunate they did.

“I think I’m lucky in an unlucky way that Greg actually did die,” she said.

“And when I say that, it’s because I didn’t have to go through a criminal trial and also, I don’t have to deal with mixed emotions about Luke being dead and Greg being alive.

“I felt Greg was a tortured soul. I don’t hate him. I feel a lot of sorrow for his family.”

Ms Batty tearfully told Do that four years on, her son’s death continues to haunt her every single day.

“It’s still hard, every day,” she said.

“There’ll be a moment in every day, every day, that you just … the emotion is just simmering underneath.”

Ms Batty described the unexpected gift of her son as “the best thing that ever happened to me”.

“I was really lucky, because he was a really beautiful little boy,” she said.

“He was really beautiful, and everyone used to say how handsome he was. And he was beautiful and he was funny.

“But, you know, he was really sweet, because sometimes if I was upset, and it could’ve been because Greg had done something, whatever it may be, you know, he’d sometimes write me a little note and just say, you know, “I love you, Mum,” or something.

“I used to think, ‘Gosh, I’m really proud that I have a little boy that knows how to reach out to you and say, ‘It’s OK, Mum.’”

She told Do that Luke once apologised to her after unsuccessfully trying to intervene in an attack on her by his father.

A note Luke Batty wrote to his mum Rosie before his death.Source:ABC

“There was one incident where Greg assaulted me, and it was really frightening, I was frightened, Luke was frightened,” she said.

“Basically, it had escalated to Greg pretty much chasing me around the house and I was screaming into the phone for the police to come.

“It was the first time, really, I was really frightened physically.

“As soon as he kind of, I don’t know, kicked me or threw me on the ground and stuff, he’d left and Luke said to me, ‘I’m sorry, Mum. I’m too little,’ and I just said, you know, ‘This is not your place.’”

Luke was just 11 when he was killed by his father.Source:Supplied

It was the incident that led to a magistrate banning Anderson from seeing his son and ultimately, his plan to kill him.

There was just one place Ms Batty consented to Anderson seeing his son, cricket training, with its large numbers of people leading her to believe it would be a safe place.

On the night her son died, she said her mentally disturbed former partner appeared to be in a happy mood.

“When I was driving (Luke) to cricket practice, we didn’t know for sure whether Greg was going to be there or not,” she said.

“He was and he stood up and he had a big smile.

“I thought, ‘Great, he’s in a good mood. I can relax.’

Five years on, Rosie Batty says every single day she still gets emotional about the loss of her son.Source:ABC

“Luke came to me and said, ‘Oh, Mum, I haven’t seen Dad for a while. He’s asked me if I can have a few extra minutes,’ and I thought, ‘Aw, that’s nice.’

“You know, he hasn’t seen Greg for a while, and Greg’s in a good mood and this is a lovely night, and all is good.

“So I said, ‘Sure you can, mate.’

“I knew where Luke and Greg were. I had just invited somebody over for dinner, and the next thing, there was this noise, a human noise, but a noise of anguish I’ve never heard before.”

Luke had been bludgeoned with a cricket bat before being stabbed by his own father.

He died of massive head injuries.

The finished portrait by Anh Do.Source:ABC

The surprise portrait of Luke that Anh gifted to Rosie at the end of the show.Source:ABC

Ms Batty almost immediately became a voice for victims of domestic violence, telling reporters outside her home the day after her son’s death that it was something that did not discriminate.

“Family violence happens to everybody, no matter how nice your house is, how intelligent you are, it happens to anyone,” the grief-stricken mother remarkably said to reporters that day.

The cause she took up saw her named Australian of the Year in 2015, an honour she dedicated to Luke.

“I feel that I’m really lucky that I’ve been able to channel my grief in a really positive way,” she said.

Rosie Batty and Anh Do in the second season of his ABC series Anh’s Brush with Fame.Source:ABC

“I think, well, providing I am making some difference, then I know Luke hasn’t died in vain. “But I think of so many women and so many children who are terrorised and living in their homes with no choice, no safety, nowhere to go.

“It does make you feel better to push through and do them and know that, you know,

you’ll always have a degree of sadness, but you don’t have to let it consume you and pull you into an abyss you can’t get out of.

“But, you know, I feel compelled to keep doing what I’m doing.

“It’s ironic that I’ve never been so personally rewarded on every level, except it’s happened, you know, in a way that no-one would want to have happen.”