Adrian Casaran-Warrick of Ballina with his daughter Tanilla Deaves-Warrick
Adrian Casaran-Warrick of Ballina with his daughter Tanilla Deaves-Warrick Contributed

Father pleads his daughter's killer be jailed for life

WITH his late daughter's smiling face beaming from his bright pink t-shirt, the father of murdered toddler Tanilla Warrick-Deaves pleaded with the NSW Chief Justice to jail her killer for life.

Wearing matching shirts bearing Tanilla's photo and the words "Stand up don't give up" Adrian Warrick and his partner Brooke Bowen arrived in Sydney from Ballina to seek justice for the two-year-old.

They had already been present late last year when Tanilla's step-father Warren Ross was found guilty of bashing the toddler's head against shower tiles following months of prolonged torture and abuse.

As the verdict was read out, jurors wept and Ross, who had remained calm throughout the trial, suddenly changed his attitude and began angrily lashing out at the media and member of the public gallery.

His true colours were again on display during his sentencing hearing yesterday when he interrupted Mr Warrick's emotional victim impact statement by swearing and calling him a "dog".

Despite the volatile atmosphere, Mr Warrick went on to challenge Ross, asking him what his daughter could have possibly done to warrant a punishment "so harsh that you took her life" and called on Justice Stephen Rothman to consider how Tanilla's "tiny, battered body lay dying for two days and how she suffered before she was taken from us".

He asked for a lengthy sentence or "possibly life if that allows".

Outside court, Mr Warrick told reporters of the rage he felt when Ross abused him but said he was determined to finish what he had to say.

"I just thought...I've got to do this for Tanilla," Mr Warrick said

"When he burst out saying that I couldn't help myself...I had to say something back...just the anger and I think more than anything (it is) just overwhelming".

Defence barrister Sarah McNaughton asked the court to take into account that Ross, who was "very concerned" about his safety in the notoriously tough Long Bay prison, would have to serve his entire sentence in the most extreme form of protective custody.

The sentencing hearing will continue on May 9.

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