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Father who murdered Tiahleigh Palmer wanted to foster MORE ‘high needs’ kids for financial benefits

Child murderer Rick Thorburn and his wife Julene wanted to foster more children with ‘high and complex needs’ to access monetary benefits to help them escape financial issues, an inquest has revealed.

Thornburn killed his foster daughter Tiahleigh Palmer in October 29, 2015, when he found out his 18-year-old son Trent previously had sex with the 12-year-old schoolgirl.  

He was charged the following year, and later plead guilty to sexually abusing two other young girls in his care.

But a review into the Thornburns’ involvement with the Department of Child Safety, has revealed the couple requested to care for a high-complex needs child – which is compensated at a higher rate from $960 to $1,400 per fortnight.   

Rick Thorburn (pictured) and his wife Julene expressed an interest in fostering children with high-complex needs to bail themselves out of financial issues, an inquest has revealed

The payment is not expected to cover costs such as clothing, school uniforms, recreation and leisure expenses, transportation costs, bedding, household cleaning, and meal preparation – which are all reimbursed on top.

The report found the Thornburns – who applied to open a home day care centre for extra income at the time of Tiahleigh’s death – did not elaborate on why they wanted to care for a high-complex needs child. 

‘Mr and Mrs Thorburn had expressed to… staff that they wished to care for any child with high or complex needs,’ the review read.

‘However explanation for this desire was at no time provided by the Thorburns or requested by the agency.

‘Mr and Mrs Thorburn both outlined to assessors that they had a “history of struggling financially” and Mrs Thorburn stated that financial concerns was one of the only areas that have been any source of major concern for the Thorburns as a couple.’ 

The report, written by the Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Unit of the Coroner’s Court of Queensland was included in findings delivered this week during an inquest into Tialeigh’s death.    

Coroner Jane Bentley ruled Thorburn strangled the 12-year-old to prevent his son from going to jail for molesting the minor. 

An inquest this week found Tialeigh Palmer (pictured) was murdered by her foster carer ric Thorburn in October 2015 when he discovered his adult son had molested the 12-year-old schoolgirl

An inquest this week found Tialeigh Palmer (pictured) was murdered by her foster carer ric Thorburn in October 2015 when he discovered his adult son had molested the 12-year-old schoolgirl

The inquest previously heard of the Thorburns’ financial struggles, and how the couple expressed an interest in running a home daycare service through their Chambers Flat property. 

In an email, the foster care organisation told a child safety officer that Rick and Julene ‘require additional employment to support their household… the carer allowances they receive are spent entirely on Tia’.

The family’s financial battles were further revealed in a sickening message Trent sent his cousin over Facebook just hours before Tialeigh’s murder.

After confessing to molesting the teenage girl, he wrote: ‘I just want the kid gone and out of my life but I know she is also a sauce (sic) of income for Mum and Dad and I can’t risk us loosing (sic) money because she is gone.’

The inquest previously heard of a chilling phone call Thorburn made to his wife from a Queensland prison on June 1.

During the call, the pair complained journalists were ‘out to get them’ and expressed a desire to ‘live their lives’ without being hassled following the murder of their foster child.

Tiahleigh Palmer was killed between 7.30 and 9.30pm on the 29th of October 2015, the Deputy State Coroner Jane Bentley said

Tiahleigh Palmer was killed between 7.30 and 9.30pm on the 29th of October 2015, the Deputy State Coroner Jane Bentley said

Ms Bentley said Tiahleigh Palmer was most likely choked or asphyxiated by Rick Thorburn (pictured)

Ms Bentley said Tiahleigh Palmer was most likely choked or asphyxiated by Rick Thorburn (pictured)

The court heard Thorburn deliberately avoided passing on details of the murder to police and possibly sexually abused Tiahleigh himself.

The call shows the married couple felt they were the ones being victimised.

‘When we go into the courtroom, if they want anything out of me they can tell a heap of people to f**k off otherwise they’ll get nothing,’ Mr Thorburn told his wife on the phone from behind bars.

‘I will go to my grave with what I’ve got. If the Coroners Court don’t like that, well that’s their f**king problem, not mine.’

Mrs Thorburn replied: ‘We would all talk a lot happier and as ourselves without them there. But everything we say and do, they are going to twist to put in the news – and that’s what makes it very restrictive. So it makes us very reserved to speak at all.’

Her husband responded by promising to say he ‘could not remember’ what happened on the night he murdered Tiahleigh when in court.

‘That’s what I’ll say – just say the words, “I can’t recall” and what have they got then?’ he told his wife.

‘F**k all. Just leave it up to me to say everything. I can say and do what I want but you, you can’t, you know.’

Mrs Thorburn then said: ‘That’s it – we’ve got to live our lives without them (media) hassling us… anything we say and do they are going to twist and make us look disgusting aren’t they?’ 

To which an unremorseful Mr Thorburn replied: ‘That’s right – that’s what the f**kwits do.’ 

Convicted sex offender Thorburn told the inquest into Tiahleigh’s death he ‘accidentally’ suffocated his foster daughter, but this was rejected by Deputy State Coroner Jane Bentley. 

Julene Thorburn, the foster mother of murdered schoolgirl Tiahleigh Palmer, felt she was the victim after the death of the minor

Julene Thorburn, the foster mother of murdered schoolgirl Tiahleigh Palmer, felt she was the victim after the death of the minor

Trent Thorburn confessed to his mother Julene that he'd had sex with the schoolgirl and feared her stomach pains were a sign she was pregnant

Trent Thorburn confessed to his mother Julene that he’d had sex with the schoolgirl and feared her stomach pains were a sign she was pregnant

While the exact cause of death could not be conclusively determined, Ms Bentley said Tiahleigh was most likely choked or asphyxiated.

Mr Thorburn sobbed while reading a one-page statement – he says was written about four years ago – in the Coroner’s Court during earlier testimony.

He said he had ‘no recollection’ of being told by his wife on the day Tiahleigh died that his son had previously had sex with the 12-year-old.

Asked whether there may be a link between the circumstances of him killing Tiahleigh and finding out about the sexual relationship, he answered: ‘I don’t know’.

He also told the inquest he was ‘coerced into pleading guilty’ earlier to multiple charges of sexual assault for offences unrelated to Tiahleigh’s death.

They included a series of child sex offences after he sexually assaulted two young girls at his Brisbane home in 2015 and 2016.

Despite internal reviews and criminal trials, no one knows what happened to Tiahleigh in her final moments, a pre-inquest hearing was told in May.

Rick Thorburn is believed to have strangled Tiahleigh Palmer (pictured) in 2015 when he found out his son Trent had previously had sex with the minor

Rick Thorburn is believed to have strangled Tiahleigh Palmer (pictured) in 2015 when he found out his son Trent had previously had sex with the minor

Trent Thorburn was sentenced to four years' jail in 2017 after admitting he had sex with Tiahleigh Palmer

Trent Thorburn was sentenced to four years’ jail in 2017 after admitting he had sex with Tiahleigh Palmer

‘(Thorburn) has pleaded guilty to her murder but has never given an account, either on oath or otherwise, as to how he killed her,’ counsel assisting the coroner Kate McMahon said during the hearing.

In the hours before Tiahleigh died, she went to a hip-hop dance class where she complained of stomach pains.

That same night, Thorburn’s son Trent confessed to his mother Julene that he’d had sex with the schoolgirl and feared the stomach pains were a sign she was pregnant.

Thornburn and his wife feared a pregnancy could mean Trent would go to jail for incest charges, according to earlier proceedings.

That night, Julene, Trent and brother Joshua went out, leaving Tiahleigh home alone with Rick Thorburn for two hours.

She was never seen alive again.

Tiahleigh’s body – naked except for underpants – was badly decomposed when found by three fishermen on the banks of the Pimpama River near the Gold Coast on November 5, 2015.

Members of the Thorburn family were convicted of being part of the crime – Rick Thorburn for the murder, Trent for incest, and Julene and Joshua for being part of an elaborate cover-up.

Rick Thorburn was given a life sentence for murder.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk