A woman responsible for murdering five-year-old Tauranga boy Malachi Subecz will spend at least 17 years behind bars.

Malachi Subecz.Malachi Subecz. (Source: NZ Police.)


Michaela Barriball, 27, was also charged with wilfully ill-treating a child and grievous bodily harm in the High Court at Rotorua.

Malachi was found with injuries at a Te Puna property on November 1, 2021 and treated in Tauranga Hospital.

He was subsequently airlifted to Starship hospital in Auckland, where he died on November 12.

It subsequently emerged Malachi had been starved, beaten and burnt in the months before he died.

Justice Paul Davison remarked that the 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.”

Michaela Barriball’s sister Sharron Barriball was also sentenced today for perverting the course of justice.

She received six months’ home detention.