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Mum’s nightmare after son’s murder

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Stacie Saggers delivered a moving statement to a pre-sentence hearing for Brendan Pallant, found guilty last year of murdering Jaidyn Gomes-Sebastio. Picture : NCA NewsWire / Valeriu Campan

When September 2 rolls around every year, Stacie Saggers relives the worst day of her life.

Four and a half years ago she left work early after texts questioning her boyfriend about her two-year-old son’s health went unanswered.

Her worst fears were confirmed when Jaidyn Gomes-Sebastio was found unresponsive, bloody and bruised on the floor of his bedroom.

“When the police and ambulance arrived, I begged to see my boy,” she told Victoria’s Supreme Court on Friday afternoon.

“I didn’t understand why or what was going on. All I can remember is falling to the ground.”

Jaidyn, a bubbly mommy’s boy, was declared dead three minutes after paramedics arrived at Ms Saggers’ Langwarrin home in Melbourne on September 2, 2019.

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Ms Saggers was supported in court by friends and family. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Valeriu Campan

What followed, the now 39-year-old said, has shaped her life in ways “beyond words”.

“What followed was nothing short of soul destroying, a mother who just lost her baby was arrested, questioned and held for 48 hours,” she said.

“The community witch hunt was relentless … I was victim-blamed to the greatest extent.”

“My family had to find out what had just occurred from media coverage on TV. If anything, I should have had mental and emotional support but instead I was vilified, rejected, shamed and humiliated.”

Ms Saggers fought back tears in the court’s witness box as she described how she feared for her life and fell into a dark cycle of drug abuse to cope with the death.

She described Jaidyn as a bubbly mummy’s boy.
She described Jaidyn as a bubbly mummy’s boy.

In the years since, she said she has fought to rebuild her life and is now working in disability support and writing an autobiography of her “nightmare” in the hopes it can help other mothers going through similar experiences.

Last July, her former boyfriend Brendan Pallant was found guilty of murdering Jaidyn during a “short but profound” period of stress and frustration after a five-week trial.

He has yet to be sentenced.

Pallant’s trial was told he and Ms Saggers met in August 2019 and quickly moved in together.

In a text message shown to the jury, she said she had “never fallen for someone so quickly before”.

Last July, a Victorian jury found Pallant guilty of Jaidyn’s murder. Picture: Supplied.
Last July, a Victorian jury found Pallant guilty of Jaidyn’s murder. Picture: Supplied.
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Previously, the court was told he maintains his innocence. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Crosling

But just weeks later, Ms Saggers had grown suspicious of her new flame after two instances where Jaidyn was injured on August 29 and September 1.

Both incidents had been explained away by Pallant as the young boy pulling shelves down on himself while alone in his room.

Crown prosecutor Mark Gibson KC put forward a different hypothesis, that Pallant had “orchestrated” the scene in Jayden’s room as part of a pattern of harm and deflecting blame.

Ms Saggers told the court she opened Jaidyn’s bodysuit at his funeral and saw a “bruised body from head to torso”.

“I was sick to my stomach,” she said.

“How could someone do this to an innocent and defenceless child … I held my baby in my arms and begged him to come home.

“I lie awake every night and think about what I could have done.”

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She told Brendan Pallant her young family had “trusted” him. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Valeriu Campan

Addressing Pallant directly, she told him that Jaidyn had loved him.

“All we wanted was your love and protection; we trusted you,” she said.

“The impact of the hurtful actions will never go away, but this is about recognising that I can no longer carry the heaviness of my anger and I need to make peace of what has happened.

“Peace, understanding and forgiveness for Brendan’s actions and behaviours will never come.”

Pallant will return to court next month as his lawyers make submissions on how Justice Jane Dixon should interpret the evidence and what his ultimate sentence should be.