Foster dad cries as he's jailed for life for Tiahleigh Palmer's murder

Doris Richards
May 25, 2018

He will spend at least 20 years in jail, before being eligible for parole.

In February, Thorburn sought a judge-only trial but a month later the court was told he would plead guilty to murdering the Marsden High schoolgirl and disposing of her body.

Outside the court, Tiahleigh's mother, Cindy Palmer, said no amount of jail time would ever ease the pain Thorburn had caused. He was released in late January 2018, after serving 16 months.

"In memory of Tiahleigh, I'm very proud to be part of the Queensland Families and Children's Commission Blue Card and Foster Care system review that will be her Legacy", said Ms Johnston.

Tiahleigh Palmer's decomposing body was found six days after she went missing.

She was found in just her underwear, and her body was so decomposed that police could not determine at first whether it was a boy or girl.

Tiahleigh had been in care since she was seven.

During sentencing of Thorburn, Justice David Boddice described actions in murdering Tiahleigh Palmer as "cold, calculating and callous".

"Your offending involves truly appalling conduct".

"While a "life" sentence without parole for Thorburn can never undo the hurt and suffering Tiahleigh endured at the hands of this family, it could give many of us who fight to protect children, a sense that justice has been done in her name", she said.

Rick Thorburn killed 12-year-old Tiahleigh Palmer in 2015.

Rick's wife, Julene, was sentence to 18 months in jail for perjury and attempting to perver the course of justice after lying to police about Tiahleigh's death.

While still inside the courthouse, Tiahleigh's family held a prayer session, clapping and hugging each other.

Tiahleigh’s biological mother arrives at a Brisbane court
Tiahleigh’s biological mother arrives at a Brisbane court

Thorburn wiped away tears as he replied "guilty" to charges of murder, interfering with the 12-year-old's corpse, perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Thorburn will spend the rest of his life in prison for murdering the 12-year-old.

"Richard explained they would do things like they normally do".

"Rick Thorburn took that away from me, from our family and most importantly Tiahleigh. I'm going to leave home tomorrow morning, as if I'm going off to school as if I'm going to collect some auto parts".

"Tomorrow night I don't want you boys home so I can get rid of Tiah's body. I know a good place".

Mr Heaton told the court Thorburn had told his wife: "Go to bed. Tomorrow will be a normal day".

Thorburn wasn't arrested until September 2016 after police bugged his family home and listened to their conversations.

"While Thorburn received a life sentence, it's extremely disappointing that the courts have chosen or have been required to apply a non-parole period of 20-years - Life should be life".

Tiahleigh's biological family were also in court, wearing #Justice4Tiahleigh t-shirts.

"But as her mother, no sentence will ever be enough".

"Tiahleigh was a attractive, young girl who had her whole life to look forward to".

"It's an absolute tragedy and inexcusable".

Trent Thorburn, who admitted to having sex with his foster sister, was jailed in September 2017 for a maximum of four years after pleading guilty at the Beenleigh District Court to four charges, including incest.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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