Tiahleigh Palmer’s foster father allegedly murdered her to protect his 19-year-old son who had allegedly been having an abusive sexual relationship with the 12-year-old schoolgirl.
Police will allege Rick Thorburn, 56, took his foster daughter’s life after finding out his son Trent, 19, had been sexually assaulting her during the ten months she had been in the family’s care, the Courier Mail reported.
Mr Thorburn is believed by police to have feared his son could be convicted under the Queensland Criminal Code, which states a sexual relationship between siblings – including foster, step or de facto circumstances – is considered incest, which can attract a life sentence.
Thorburn, a former long-haul truck driver turned food truck owner, was charged with murder and interfering with a corpse at Beenleigh Watch House on Tuesday following a highly publicised 11-month-long investigation into the schoolgirl’s death.
He was rushed to the Princess Alexandra Hospital following a suspected self-harm attempt at the Watch House once charges were laid against him on Tuesday afternoon.
A court heard on Wednesday that Thorburn was in an induced coma and would not be facing court.
Police have not disclosed details of what prompted the hospitalisation and his lawyer Kelly Thompson would not confirm if her client’s condition was caused by self-harm.