Man accused of stabbing son to death was turned away from mental health ward

Police at the scene of the child's death in Carlington, Sydney.
Police at the scene of the child's death in Carlington, Sydney. Photo credit: AAP

A Sydney man accused of stabbing his young son to death had been turned away from mental health facility just days before.

The unnamed man appeared in court on Saturday, charged with the murder of his five-year-old son. The child was stabbed to death at his home in Carlington, where he lived with his father and grandmother, on Friday morning.

The 36-year-old appeared not to understand his surroundings, with reporting that he asked the court "Where am I?"

He reportedly struggled with mental health issues that recently forced him to take time off work.

Neighbours said the man's family had tried to check him into a mental health ward on Thursday, but he was turned away because of a lack of beds.

Superintendent Rob Critchlow told media that the stabbing was "horrendous… it's probably about as bad as it gets, really."

Neighbours told the man had a close relationship with his son, describing him as a "doting" father.

"He cared for that boy, you could see the boy run to the dad when he needed help," one local said.

The boy's 60-year-old grandmother desperately tried to save him after he was attacked, driving in search of a hospital - but having to settle for a local childcare centre.

Paramedics soon arrived, but unfortunately were not able to revive the boy.

The man will appear in court again on July 30.