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5 year old Malachi Subecz killed by his carer Michaela Barriball – the shocking facts

Details of the shocking and tragic death of 5 year old Malachi Subecz can now be revealed to the public after the Crown’s Summary of Facts was released today.

Michaela Barriball pleaded guilty to one charge of murder in relation to Malachi’s death on 27 April.

Malachi Subecz news

Barriball had the care of Malachi since June 2021, with the consent of the boy’s mother.

Barriball lived alone in a rented cabin in Te Puna, on the outskirts of Tauranga. Her partner did not live with her.

The injuries and maltreatment suffered by Malachi at the hands of Barriball were:

  • Slapping him on a ‘daily basis’ to the head, face and body
  • Stripping him naked and forcing him to go outside or locked in a car
  • Forcing him to stand for long periods of time
  • Depriving him of food
  • An assault where Barriball picked up Malachi by his hair and threw him into the wall, then repeatedly hitting him in the face
  • Holding Malachi’s head underwater in the bath
  • Forcing him under the water of a hot shower, measured at 73ºC, spraying him with the nozzle head and causing a deep black injury to his stomach
  • Leaving Malachi in the cabin alone overnight
  • The final assault took place the day after Halloween, when Barriball repeatedly hit Malachi causing blunt force injuries. Malachi suffered a seizure and an ambulance was called. A medical examination that day showed he was suffering from a brain hemorrhage and mulitple blunt force injuries all over his body.

The killer’s older sister Sharron Barriball told her daughter, who was at the property, to clean up the cabin and get rid of Malachi’s clothes to hide evidence. For this action, Sharron Barriball was charged with perverting the course of justice. She has since pleaded guilty to that charge.

Last month Michaela Barriball pleaded guilty to a total of four charges:

  • murder
  • two charges of ill-treatment of a child
  • one charge of injuring with intent to injure

The sisters will be sentenced next month.



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