Hunter mother testifies she was ‘too scared’ to stop partner’s violence against murdered daughter

By , 17/12/2018 16:21

THE mother of agirl who was tortured and beaten by her stepfather in the Hunter wishesshe could go back in time and “do something” to prevent the brutal murder.
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“I should have done something,” the woman, who cannot be named because it would identify the girl, told Newcastle Supreme Court during sentencing submissions on Thursday.

“I feel empty inside because she’s gone –part of me has died with her –seeing pictures of her breaks my heart. I’ve lost everything.”

On Monday, the woman pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the basis she did nothing to prevent the attacks.

The girl’s stepfather was last week jailed for a maximum of 37-and-a-half years,with a non-parole period of 28 years after he pleaded guilty to murdering the girl between September 20 and 22, 2015.

For more than four years, the stepfather would subject the 12-year-old girl to weekly beatings, during which he would tie her up and beat her with wood, punch, slap and kick her and rub salt and vinegar into her wounds.

Crying and at times becoming so emotional she struggled to breathe, the woman testified that she knew about the violence, did nothing to stop it, failed to seek medical help, admitted to ringingher children’s school to lie about why they could not attend class and tried to hide their bruises.

While testifying that she now “struggled to forgive myself”, she said she was “too scared” of her partner to take action at the time.

“Did you ever say this is crazy, ridiculous behaviour?” defence barrister Janet Manuell, SC, asked of the man’s attempts to blame the woman for his abusive actions.

“No, you could never argue or disagree. I just agreed because I was scared of what he would do,” the woman replied.

“Why didn’t you just go?”

“He knew I would never leave the house without those children.”

The mother was playing the poker machines at a Hunter bowling club on one of the days the girl was being brutally bashed.

The mother found the girl’s body in the family home the following morning. That was the first time she rang triple-zero.

After her partner’s arrest on September 23, 2015, the mother continued to lie for him, omitting details of assaults on the young girl during a subsequent interview with police.

Crown prosecutor Lee Carr noted that the woman continued to lie even though her partner was locked up in the cells.

“What was going through your mind at that stage that said let’s not tell the truth?” he asked.

“I don’t know. I was scared of him still. I don’t know,” the woman replied.

The case returns to court on Friday.

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