James Hayward: Letter ex-MP wrote to his wife allegedly admitting to sexually abusing a child is revealed in court

A letter written by a West Australian MP on trial for child sexual abuse, admitting the alleged crimes to his wife, has been read in court.

James Dorrin Hayward has pleaded not guilty to four charges relating to the alleged abuse of an eight-year-old girl spanning two years.

The 53-year-old allegedly directed the girl to indecently touch him on three occasions and showed her how to search for pornography on the internet.

The District Court trial in Perth has been told Hayward, a former church pastor, emailed a letter to his wife a week after a complaint about him was made to police.

Prosecutor Sean Stocks said it was a suicide note in his opening remarks to the jury on Monday, and on Tuesday it was read to the court by a police officer giving evidence.

Former WA Nationals MP James Hayward leaves the Perth Magistrates Court in Perth, Monday, December 13, 2021. Former WA Nationals MP James Hayward faced court charged with multiple child sexual abuse offences against an eight-year-old girl 

‘I regret not being able to talk to you about this in person,’ Hayward wrote.

‘Leaving you … has been the most regrettable decision of my life.’

He said he believed his decision to end his life would benefit and protect his family.

‘In the coming days, I expect to be accused of child sex assault in relation to (a child), which I have done,’ he said.

‘I know you repeatedly warned me, it’s so displeasing.’

He said the accusations would lead to intense media and public scrutiny because of his position as he thanked and praised his wife for their 20-year relationship.

‘At least this way you … will be spared the harassment,’ he said.

‘I am so sorry I have let you down and I hope at some point you … forgive me.

‘I love you … to the moon and back.’

The court was told Hayward’s wife called police after receiving the note amid concerns for her husband.

Hayward’s lawyer Tom Percy KC previously said Hayward’s email was ‘foolish in the extreme’ and a ‘misguided gesture’ written during a stressful time in his life, and not an admission of guilt.

He said it was an irrational decision and his client was under enormous financial pressure following the failure of a business that left him owing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

‘Coupled with the ongoing financial disaster surrounding him, he felt he just didn’t have the strength to deal with those consequences,’ Mr Percy said.

Hayward resigned from the WA Nationals after the charges were laid in 2021 and continues to sit in the state’s upper house as an independent MP.

The alleged victim’s mother was earlier on Tuesday recalled to the witness box after concluding her evidence, amid allegations she withheld information.

The woman initially denied communicating with Hayward about the allegations before she went to police.

She later admitted under oath that she had replied to messages from Hayward before she made a complaint.

‘I did reply: ‘leave me and my family alone’,’ the woman said when asked what she had said.

Former WA Nationals MP James Hayward leaves the Perth Magistrates Court in Perth on December 13, 2021

Former WA Nationals MP James Hayward leaves the Perth Magistrates Court in Perth on December 13, 2021

The court was told Hayward sent another Snapchat message saying: ‘what’s going on?’.

The woman said she responded ‘you know what you did’ before deleting the app from her mobile phone.

Mr Percy accused the woman of withholding evidence and hiding the communication from the police, prosecution and jury.

He also said the woman had communicated with Hayward the previous day, soon after she learned about the alleged abuse.

Mr Percy also claimed the woman had told Hayward about the allegations against him.

‘You didn’t tell us the whole truth,’ Mr Percy said as he repeated the accusations against her several times.

‘You hid it from police and to make sure they didn’t find out you deleted the app.’

The woman denied Mr Percy’s allegations but did agree the pair had messaged almost daily before the allegations were made.

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