Mother of murder victim Kiesha Weippeart gets 22 years jail
BEHIND the doors of a western Sydney apartment, a little girl spent six miserable years hidden from the world and subjected to unimaginable horror that would end only with her death.
Kiesha Weippeart's murder at the hands of her disturbed mother captured the attention of the community like few other cases in NSW's recent criminal history and turned the once forgotten child into the face of a critically flawed community service department.
Evidence tendered during Kristi Abrahams' court proceedings, which ended on Thursday with a 22-year jail sentence, revealed that behind Kiesha's mop of curls and blue eyes, was a neglected child crying out for help.
Court documents state Kiesha was taken off her mother in 2005 when she was hospitalised with a bite mark to her shoulder, but a year later she was sent back.In the years that followed, Kiesha's striking resemblance to her biological father fuelled her mother's resentment.
An examination of her body revealed she had sustained repeated injuries to her teeth and bones in the months and weeks leading up to her death which would have caused her "considerable pain".
A head injury, at the time of her death, was "caused by the forcible closure of the mouth as the result of a blow to the head".
Her blood was found in various parts of the house.
She only ever attended school four times and was kept inside because she "was regularly exhibiting signs of injury or abuse".
On the night of her death, her only crime was resisting her mother's attempts to dress her in a pair of pink pyjamas.
After being hit on the head Kiesha "went funny" and was placed under a cold shower but she only continued to "make weird noises".
Rather than call for an ambulance, Abrahams put her unconscious daughter in bed and left.
When Abrahams and her partner Robert Smith realised Kiesha was dead the next day, they placed her body in a suitcase and left it in the garage for a week before deciding what to do with it.
Their solution - dumping the suitcase in a shallow bush grave and settling it alight - was condemned by the Crown as evidence of Abrahams' "further enmity towards" her daughter.Soon after Kiesha's body was buried, Abrahams dialled 000 and told police her daughter was missing.
She and Smith appeared in various media interviews making emotional pleas for information about her disappearance.
An undercover police operation eventually led police to Kiesha's grave site where the couple was arrested.
On Thursday, the court heard Abrahams' own childhood had been marred by abuse and neglect.She became a ward of the state at age 11 following her mother's death.
Justice Ian Harrison said that while there was no reason to believe Kiesha's murder was planned, Abrahams intended to cause "grievous bodily harm" that resulted in her death.
He said he believed that with proper care, Abrahams had a good chance of being rehabilitated in jail and while she had been publicly vilified for an offence which had stirred "many emotions in the community", she was entitled to be sentenced "dispassionately".
Abrahams was given a head sentence of 22 years and six months.
She will eligible for parole in April, 2027.Her barrister told reporters that while it was "very confronting" for the community to accept the death of a child at the hands of a mother, Abrahams was the product of a system that had failed her.
While investigations into DOCS involvement in Kiesha's life will be ongoing, Thursday's sentence closed a case which had dominated the lives of a team of homicide detectives for the past three years. At least 12 were in the gallery for the sentence.
Outside court, an emotional Detective Inspector Russell Oxford told reporters that if anything was to come out of the day's events, he hoped everyone would "take stock of where we are in this world, go home...hug our kids and take care of them".