It was an anonymous tip-off to Crime Stoppers in May 2016, that helped police find Tiahleigh Palmer’s killer – her foster father Rick Thorburn, who has pleaded guilty to her murder.
It was an anonymous tip-off to Crime Stoppers in May 2016 that helped police find Tiahleigh Palmer’s killer – her foster father Rick Thorburn, who has pleaded guilty to her murder.
The caller to Crime Stoppers revealed details of a “family meeting”, held the day before a social worker noted Tiahleigh was absent from Marsden State High School, where it had been revealed Trent Thorburn had had sex with his 12-year-old foster sister.
There were fears Tiahleigh was pregnant, with those concerns heightened by the school girl’s complaints of stomach cramps on the evening of October 29.
“It is all taken care of … don’t ask any questions, you don’t need to know.”
That is what Rick Thorburn told his wife and sons on October 29, 2015.
One week later, the decomposed and mostly naked body of his 12-year-old foster daughter, Tiahleigh Palmer, was found partially submerged on the banks of the Pimpama River.
Thorburn, his wife Julene and two sons Trent and Josh continued to live their normal lives while maintaining a previously hatched story that Tiahleigh had been dropped off at school on the morning of October 30 prior to her disappearance.
It has now been revealed by prosecutor Carl Heaton, QC, that after 10pm on the evening of the 29th, Thorburn told his wife and two sons: “Tia is no longer with us, I hope you understand what that means.”
“I have her hidden and I’m going to get rid of her tomorrow night,” he told his family.
The Crime Stoppers call prompted a Crime and Corruption Commission hearing during which all four members of the Thorburn family stuck to the story, but it prompted police to install listening devices in their home.
These devices captured conversations between the family members, including Thorburn telling his wife and sons to “stick to the story” about him dropping Tiahleigh at school and to keep Trent’s relationship with Tiahleigh “quiet”.
All four members of the Thorburn family were arrested in September 2016.
[Extracts from Brisbane Times]