A young dad in Australia has been charged with murder after he confronted a burglar inside his home. Father Benjamin Batterham, 33, discovered convicted rapist Ricky Slater, 34, near his daughter's room inside their family home in Newcastle, New South Wales, at 3.30am.
With a 32-year-old friend, Batterham confronted Slater and the resulting skirmish sent Slater to hospital where he later died of his injuries, believed to include brain damage.
Batterham also suffered facial injuries and bite marks to his body and some reports say he had to be tested for HIV. Reports that Slater suffered a broken neck have been ruled out. After Slater was taken off life support Batterham handed himself in at a police station and was charged with murder.
Now an appeal on the apprentice chef's behalf has attracted over 110,000 signatures (as of 6 April). However, a planned protest march on behalf of Batterhamwas called off when a teenager organising the protest said he was threatened by members of the Slater family. Slater's mother Beryl Dickson told Daily Mail Australia that members of the family had been driving through the town and were upset when they saw the teen putting up the flyers.
"So we ripped them off the poles and then my son-in-law saw this young bloke putting up more banners and just said 'that's not right' and 'can you give me the rest of them, sorry'" said Dickson. "He never assaulted him or anything. We're just upset that they were going up. People have been saying so much about Ricky, it's very painful for our family."
Newcastle police are investigating the incident. The case has divided opinion across Australia, with most appearing to support the actions of Batterham. Celebrity lawyer Winston Terracini has been appointed to defend the husband and father, who is being held at Cessnock Correctional Centre.