Local News

Foster father of slain Aussie schoolgirl sentenced for life for her murder

Our thoughts go out to the late Tiahleigh Palmer.

By Ellie McDonald

Tiahleigh Palmer's foster father Rick Thorburn has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his foster daughter, Tialeigh Thorburn who was killed in October, 2015.

According to ABC News, 57-year-old Thorburn will not be eligible for parole until September, 2036.

Justice David Boddice described Thorburn's act as "cold, calculating and callous" and went on to say, "Your offending involves truly appalling conduct."

This occured just eight months after Trent Thorburn was released on bail after being convicted of incest relating to his dead foster sister Tiahleigh Palmer.

Rick Thorburn, officially pleaded guilty for the first time to murdering the Gold Coast schoolgirl.

Tiahleigh Palmer.
Tiahleigh Palmer.

As previously reported by Now To Love, it is alleged that Rick Thorburn, Tiahleigh's foster father at the time of her death, murdered the 12-year-old after finding out his son had been having sex with her in their Chambers Flat home. Police believe that Rick then killed Tiahleigh because he feared his son would go to prison.

The body of Tiahleigh Palmer was found on the banks of the Pimpama River on Queensland's Gold Coast in November 2015, six days after she was reported missing by the Thorburns.

Trent Thorburn.
Trent Thorburn.

During the playing out of this widely reported case, each of the four Thorburn family members was charged in connection to the crime. 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.

Trent Thorburn was sentenced to four years in jail on incest and perjury charges, but was released in January after spending 16 months in prison.

Trent's brother, Joshua, pleaded guilty to perjury and served three months of his 15-month sentence.

Now, Rick's lawyer has requested for his client's pre-trial hearing be dismissed and instead asked for a sentencing date.

The sentencing of Thorburn is underway.

More as this story develops.