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NSW: Stepfather jailed for brutal murder of 3-year-old

By Margaret Scheikowski
16 Mar 2009 3:58 PM

SYDNEY, March 16 AAP - In 2005, a worried neighbour made a triple-0 call saying: "He's got a little girl in there about three, and she has been screaming for over half an hour.

"I can't understand what he's doing to the little child, and he keeps screaming 'get up, get up'," the caller continued.

When emergency workers arrived at the blood-stained NSW Central Coast house late on October 29, they found a brutally beaten three-year-old girl dead on the floor.

As workers tried to revive the infant, her drunk stepfather was berating her nine-year-old sibling, saying: "What did you do to her, what did you do to your sister?"

Despite the stepfather's contention that the older child must have been the culprit, a NSW Supreme Court jury last November found the now 33-year-old guilty of the horrific murder.

On Friday, Acting Justice Jane Mathews jailed him for at least 20 years, setting a maximum term of 26 years.

The victim's injuries were too numerous to quantify and resulted in hundreds of bruises on her body and severe haemorrhaging into her brain.

"... one can barely contemplate the horror she must have experienced when the person who was charged with keeping her from harm and protecting her from violence turned on her and inflicted extreme violence over a sustained period," the judge said.

On the afternoon of October 29, the stepfather had been drinking and after arguing with the mother of the girls, she arranged to stay at a local refuge for the night.

The sisters were alone with him and the oldest was twice sent to a neighbour's to ask for beer and cigarettes for him.

In her evidence, the woman who made the triple-0 call said: "I heard a lot of banging going on, like the walls were being broken and a lot of crockery being thrown around."

The stepfather later went to another neighbour's home, asking for the police and ambulance to be called as his daughter was not breathing.

They found the little girl lying on her back on the kitchen floor, while her older sister was kneeling over her crying.

When told the infant was dead, the stepfather became particularly upset and aggressive, punching the side of the house, and saying to the older girl: "Go on, tell them what you did."

Justice Mathews referred to photos showing considerable damage to walls and doors, and bloodstains in various parts of the house.

The surviving stepdaughter denied any involvement in the killing.

The judge noted the man's relationships had been marked by domestic violence, exacerbated by his use of alcohol and cannabis.

He has continued to assert his innocence of the murder.

"I think it is highly possible that the offender was in such an advanced state of intoxication that he had no precise memory of these events," the judge said.

While he had frequently expressed grief over the death, he had expressed "no remorse whatsoever".