Malachi Rain Subecz (pictured) weighed just 16 kilograms when he died in hospital after weeks of shocking abuse
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A woman has been handed one of the longest jail sentences ever given to a female in New Zealand for the brutal murder of a five-year-old boy.

Michaela Barriball, 27, will spend at least 17 years in prison for the murder of Malachi Rain Subecz, who was beaten, starved, thrown against walls and burnt with scorching hot water.   

He weighed just 16kg when he died at Starship Hospital in Auckland on November 12 last year, 11 days after was found injured at a home in Te Puna, 192km south of Auckland.

Barriball is not related to Malachi, but he was put in her care last September after his biological mother was imprisoned. 

Malachi Rain Subecz (pictured) weighed just 16 kilograms when he died in hospital after weeks of shocking abuse

Malachi Rain Subecz (pictured) weighed just 16 kilograms when he died in hospital after weeks of shocking abuse

Soon after taking Malachi into her care, Barriball started to assault him ‘on a daily basis’, hitting him in the head, face and body.

The boy would frequently soil himself due to the abuse, which led Barriball to strip him naked and lock him outside or in a car. 

She also forced Malachi to stand for long periods and starved him.

On one occasion, Barriball picked the boy up by his hair and threw him against a wall twice, before repeatedly slapping him across the face. 

The court also heard that Barriball held Malachi under the water while having a bath, and on another occasion put him in a shower under 73-degree water. 

That caused the boy severe burns, including a deep, 13cm blackened injury.

Messages Barriball sent to her partner were also revealed in court. 

‘You like him more then me yar (sic), that’s not fair he’s taking everyone from me the ugly f*****,’ one said.

‘I’m gonna f*** him up badly. Ugly c*** taking my all everyone from my life g.’

Michaela Barriball (pictured) will spend at least 17 years in prison for the murder of Malachi Rain Subecz

Michaela Barriball (pictured) will spend at least 17 years in prison for the murder of Malachi Rain Subecz

After scalding Malachi in the shower, she messaged that ‘I wanna take him to hospital but I’m f****** scared as man.’ 

Barriball, who was unemployed, lived in a rented cabin owned by her father. 

Last October, she often left Malachi alone in the cabin overnight, returning in the morning. 

On October 31, the night before he suffered his last beating, the five-year-old went trick or treating with his cousins, dressed as a pirate.

The next morning, Barriball lashed out at him for the last time, injuring him so badly he suffered a seizure. 

Malachi Subecz (pictured) was found injured in Te Puna, 192km south of Auckland New Zealand, on November 1, 2021, and died in hospital on November 12

Malachi Subecz (pictured) was found injured in Te Puna, 192km south of Auckland New Zealand, on November 1, 2021, and died in hospital on November 12

She told paramedics he had fallen while getting ready for school.

Malachi had a brain haemorrhage and bruises all over his body. Hours later he was transferred to Starship Hospital and placed in an induced coma. 

He died 11 days later on November 12.

In the High Court at Rotorua on Thursday, Justice Paul Davison said Barriball’s offending ‘clearly sits at the highest end of any scale’.

‘You held all the power, and you abused that power in the most callous and inhumane way imaginable,’ he said. 

Judge Davison sentenced Barriball to life in prison, with a 17-year minimum period of imprisonment,’ the NZ Herald reported. 

Malachi Subecz (pictured) so beaten so badly on November 1, 2021, he suffered a seizure

Malachi Subecz (pictured) so beaten so badly on November 1, 2021, he suffered a seizure

Though it was Malachi’s mother’s wish that she be placed with Barriball while she was in jail, the boy’s family is still waiting for answers from the authorities about how the abuse went unnoticed for months.

In the hours after beating Malachi for the last time, Barriball messaged her boyfriend to say ‘ I don’t care if I go to jail, I deserve to’.

The court heard nine victim impact statements, including from Malachi’s aunt, Helen Menzies.

She stayed with the boy in Starship Hospital in the days before his life support was switched off.

‘If I try to drift off to sleep at night, I hear his gasping breath,’ she said. 

‘You laid your dirty hands on my nephew. What gave you the right to do that?’

Her husband, Peter Menzies, held Malachi as he died. 

‘From then, my confidence and happiness died too,’ he told the court.

‘I hate this world and the horrible things people do. This has changed me forever.’

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