A South Coast father who arranged for a hitman to kill his 14-year-old son has told the boy he’s sorry and wants to be part of his life.
Adam Baker* was on Friday ordered to spend up to 13 years and nine months in prison for masterminding the 2015 plot.
With his accomplice – his wife and the boy’s stepmother – he arranged the murders of a 14-year-old girl he’d sexually abused and a witness who was poised to back the girl’s claims – Baker’s own son.
Baker was in jail, awaiting his day in court over the sex crimes, when he began shopping for a hitman.
The hair-raising scenario was exposed by his cellmate, setting off an elaborate undercover operation that showed Baker and his wife, Sally Baker* had every intention of financing and seeing through the hits.
Unbeknownst to Baker, his cellmate agreed to work with police, who sent one of their own in undercover as the hitman.
Baker was contemplating spending $25,000 soliciting the girl’s murder when he learned his son had made a statement against him and decided he too must die.
“May the sharks eat him while he’s still alive, you know,” he told his cellmate.
“I want him killed… and I want this done quick, because next months, there is a case.”
Baker organised for his wife to meet with the undercover officer four times in April. Each time, she answered questions about what they wanted to happen to the children, including a disturbing exchange in which she told the officer she wanted the girl “completely disappeared, not even a bone, nothing”.
Judge Andrew Haesler considered a letter penned by Baker as part of sentencing proceedings on Friday.
In it, Baker blames his behaviour on drug and alcohol abuse and and says: “I've made a mistake and it's cost me dearly”.
“I want to be the father my son never had and make up for lost time,” he says. “I myself should know how not having a father in my life has great impact … and I do not want this for my son anymore. I so want to be a part of his life.”
The judge found Baker’s culpabilty was increased because he was attempting to interfere with the course of justice when he solicited the murders.
It was a futile attempt, the judge noted, since the childrens’ statements could have condemned him, whether or not they were alive to be cross-examined in court.
“I suspect that his relationship with his son is over,” the judge said, as Baker bowed his head. “He said [in his letter], ‘I’ll never forgive myself for my actions. They will haunt me forever’. Well, so they should.”
Baker was sentenced for two counts of solicit to murder, three sex crimes and four firearms offences.
The judge ordered he serve a non-parole period of nine years, nine months.
With time served, Baker will become eligible for parole on October 14, 2024.
In September last year, Sally Baker’s sentence was increased to nine years, eight months imprisonment, with a non-parole period of five years, 10 months.
The Crown had appealed the initial sentence of seven and a half years, which would have made Mrs Baker eligible for parole next year – after four years, six months behind bars.
- The Court of Criminal Appeal has assigned pseudonyms to all parties, in order to protect the childrens’ right to anonymity. The children involved have been given the names “Kathy” and “Daniel”.
Adam Baker’s* full letter to the court
“I, Adam Baker*, would like to start by saying how sorry I am for my actions and mostly how sorry I am to Kathy* and my son Daniel*.
I wish this never happened. The stress that I've caused to Kathy and her family, I ask for forgiveness every day that goes by.
Being in jail has made me realise what I was and what the drugs and alcohol was doing to my life and the pain I was causing to the loved ones around me. Never against will I touch drugs or drink ever again.
I am so remorseful and cry in my cell every night. What I did was so wrong and not being on drugs has made me see and opened my eyes up and to be a better father to my son Daniel. Dad is so sorry, son.
I've made a mistake and it's cost me dearly. I want to be the father my son never had and make up for lost time as I myself should know how not having a father in my life has great impact in my life and I do not want this for my son anymore. I so want to be a part of his life.
Please forgive me. I'm sorry to all that I've hurt. So sorry to [Kathy's] family, my heart cries daily. I'll never forgive myself for my actions. They will haunt me forever. So, so sorry. Yours faithfully, God bless.”