Tiahleigh Palmer’s mother has revealed the reason she put her daughter up for adoption was the fear of being killed by her partner and leaving her children to fend for themselves.
Cindy Palmer told 60 Minutes on Sunday she handed her daughter over to authorities at age seven to save her from being brought up in an abusive household and to give her a chance at a better life.
‘I didn’t murder my daughter. I did everything I could to try and get her back. I wanted our family to be whole again,’ she said.
Cindy Palmer (pictured) told 60 Minutes on Sunday she handed her daughter over at age seven to save her from being brought up in an abusive household
Ms Palmer said she handed her daughter (pictured) over to authorities at age seven to save her from being brought up in an abusive household and to give her a chance at a better life
Ms Palmer said she has faced accusations she was the reason for her daughter’s after the 12-year-old killed by her foster father, Rick Thorburn.
‘I was suffering through a very severe domestic violence situation,’ Ms Palmer said.
‘So, I actually went to the department for help because I realised that one day I was just going to die and (she) was just going to be left there by (herself).
Despite her daughter’s tragic death, Ms Palmer said she still believes she made the right decision asking for help.
‘It’s not what I wanted and it wasn’t the outcome any of us wanted, but at the end of the day I thought it was the safer option.’
Thorburn pleaded guilty to the murder of his foster daughter and has been sentenced to life in prison for her murder.
He killed Tiahleigh between 8pm and 10pm October 29, 2015, hours after his son Trent, who was 18 at the time, confessed to having raped her – telling his parents he feared she was pregnant.
Rick Thorburn (pictured) pleaded guilty to the 2015 murder of his foster daughter in Brisbane’s Supreme Court on Friday
Thorburn, 58, was sentenced to life in jail for murdering 12-year-old Tiahleigh Palmer (pictured) and will be eligible for parole in 2036
Ms Palmer said she had an instinctual bad feeling about the Thorburn family and initially refused to allow her daughter into their care because of their two teen sons.
‘Straight away, I said no,’ she said.
‘The first ever time that I met Rick, the first words that came out of his mouth were about how he was in a gang when he was younger and he was running guns and prostitutes. And he was proud of this.’
She relived the fury she felt watching her daughter’s killer carrying the 12-year-old’s coffin in the emotional interview on Sunday night.
‘They were acting a part,’ she told the Nine network, remembering Thorburn carrying her daughter’s coffin
‘They were acting a part, to be the victim. He loved it (the attention) – he went to great lengths.’
Ms Palmer said Tialeigh was better off without her when she applied for her to be taken into foster care.
Ms Palmer said her daughter began wearing padded bras and was having her eyebrows waxed while living with Rick Thorburn.
After Tiahleigh’s body was found washed up on the banks of the Pimpama River south of Brisbane, Rick Thorburn carried the girl’s casket at her funeral.
Cindy Palmer (centre), the mother of murdered schoolgirl Tiahleigh Palmer, and her supporters are seen leaving the Supreme Court in Brisbane
Looking back, Ms Palmer said it was ‘disgusting’.
Six months after her death police still had no strong leads in the investigation – until a tip-off call was made to Crime Stoppers, detailing a Facebook message sent from Trent Thorburn discussing how he had sexually abused Tiahleigh and feared she was pregnant.
The Thorburn’s house was bugged by police, and their callous conversations in covering up the sexual abuse were recorded.
Talking to police, Josh Thorburn said his father told him that Tiahleigh was dead.
‘His exact words were ”Tiah is no longer with us… I hope you know what that means”.’
Ms Palmer spoke of how Trent Thorburn emotionally embraced her at Tiahleigh’s funeral, while keeping the family’s secret.
‘He danced, hugged me and wept,’ Ms Palmer said.
The court heard Tiahleigh was first placed into care in 2010, aged seven, and in January 2015, the Thorburn family became her full-time carers.
Tiahleigh’s badly decomposed body was found by fishermen on the banks of the Pimpama River six days after she went missing while in the Thorburn family’s care.
Thorburn killed Tiahleigh Palmer (pictured) between 8pm and 10pm October 29, hours after his son Trent, who was 18 at the time, confessed to having sex with her
In a letter penned by Mr Thorburn, obtained by ABC News, the 57-year-old claimed he still loved her.
‘There is not a day go by that I am not haunted by what I have done, the torment I live with is unbearable,’ he wrote.
‘It did not matter about her occasional naughtiness, you could not help love her and I still do.’
Thorburn has been sentenced to life in jail and will be eligible for parole in 2036.
In a letter penned by Thorburn (excerpt pictured), who pleaded guilty to the 2015 murder in Brisbane’s Supreme Court Friday, the 57-year-old also claimed he still loved her
One man interviewed by Nine (pictured) said he believes Thorburn should ‘never see the light of day’