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Tiahleigh Palmer’s foster father explodes in court as he’s given more jail time for raping two girls

Rick Thorburn, 60, (pictured in 2016) was convicted over a series of child sex offences at the Beenleigh District Court, south-east of Brisbane on Friday

Rick Thorburn, 60, (pictured in 2016) was convicted over a series of child sex offences at the Beenleigh District Court, south-east of Brisbane on Friday

Tialeigh Palmer’s killer has made an explosive outburst in court when he realised he could be spending the rest of his life in jail.

Rick Thorburn, 60, was jailed for five years over a series of child sex offences at Beenleigh District Court, south-east of Brisbane on Friday. 

He was already serving a life sentence for murdering his foster daughter Tialeigh Palmer, 12, on October 29, 2015 after he discovered his son had raped and impregnated her.

But his parole eligibility was pushed back to September 2038 after he sexually assaulted two young girls at his Chambers Flat, Logan home in 2015 and 2016.

Thorburn was so enraged during the court appearance he refused to answer questions directed at him. 

He was already serving a life sentence for murdering his foster daughter Tialeigh Palmer, 12, (pictured) on October 29, 2015

He was already serving a life sentence for murdering his foster daughter Tialeigh Palmer, 12, (pictured) on October 29, 2015

Rick Thorburn killed the 12-year-old between 8pm and 10pm on October 29, 2015, just hours after his son Trent (pictured), who was 18 at the time, confessed to having sex with her, telling his parents he feared she was pregnant

Rick Thorburn killed the 12-year-old between 8pm and 10pm on October 29, 2015, just hours after his son Trent (pictured), who was 18 at the time, confessed to having sex with her, telling his parents he feared she was pregnant

He swore at prosecutor Elizabeth Kelso and media while he was under cross-examination, according to the Courier Mail. 

‘Now I know I’m never getting out of jail, I don’t care. Let’s finish it,’ Thorburn told the court.

‘I’m never getting out…It could be 50 years, I don’t care. I don’t want to answer any more questions. Guilty, guilty, guilty. Let’s go home, done, finished’.

He had just lost a bid to retract the guilty pleas he made in November last year relating to the child sex offences. 

Thorburn claimed he had suffered extreme memory loss and couldn’t recall anything prior to an incident in prison last September. 

Thorburn claimed his lawyers had bullied him into entering a guilty plea over the latest charges. 

He was sentenced to life behind bars for murdering Tiahleigh Palmer (pictured) and dumping her body into a river on the Gold Coast in 2015

He was sentenced to life behind bars for murdering Tiahleigh Palmer (pictured) and dumping her body into a river on the Gold Coast in 2015

Rick Thorburn (pictured in 2016) was reportedly found unconscious in his cell at Wolston Prison, Brisbane, in September 2020 after an apparent suicide attempt

Rick Thorburn (pictured in 2016) was reportedly found unconscious in his cell at Wolston Prison, Brisbane, in September 2020 after an apparent suicide attempt 

Judge Craig Chowdhury discredited him as a ‘poor witness’ and said the claims struck him as something out of a Kafka novel.  

‘It certainly didn’t ring true,’ he said. 

The two sisters were aged 11 and four when they were sexually abuse by Thorburn -who was unemployed at the time.

He tried to bribe one of the girls with chocolate to get her to touch his penis.

The other was digitally raped at the home and exposed to pornography while he drove her to school. 

Thorburn waited until his wife was in the other room or on the school run to make his move.   

Judge Chowbury imposed five years in jail for the rape and smaller concurrent jail terms for the other crimes. 

Cindy Palmer (centre), Tiahleigh's mother, and her supporters are seen leaving the Supreme Court in Brisbane on May 25, 2018

Cindy Palmer (centre), Tiahleigh’s mother, and her supporters are seen leaving the Supreme Court in Brisbane on May 25, 2018

He will be eligible for parole when he is 78 years old.    

Rick Thorburn was sentenced to life behind bars two years ago for murdering Tialeigh Palmer and dumping her body into a river on the Gold Coast in 2015.

He killed the schoolgirl between 8pm and 10pm October 29, 2015, hours after his son Trent, who was 18 at the time, confessed to having had sex with her – telling his parents he feared she was pregnant.

The 12-year-old was reported missing on October 30, 2015 and the Thorburn family told police she had not returned from school. 

Tiahleigh was first placed into care in 2010, aged seven, and in January 2015, the Thorburn family became her full-time carers.

THE TIAHLEIGH PALMER MURDER: A TIMELINE

2015

Oct 30: Tiahleigh’s foster father Rick Thorburn says he dropped the 12-year-old at Marsden State High School. It was the last time she was seen alive.

Nov 5: Three fishermen find a girl’s body on the banks of the Pimpama River on the Gold Coast. It’s later confirmed to be Tiahleigh.

Nov 14: Tiahleigh is remembered as a ‘beautifully imperfect’ girl at her Gold Coast funeral, where Thorburn was a pall-bearer.

2016

Feb 15: Police offer a $250,000 reward for information to solve the schoolgirl’s murder.

March 14: Biological mother Cindy Palmer makes a public appeal to help find her daughter’s killer.

Sept 20: Rick Thorburn is charged with Tiahleigh’s murder. Foster mother Julene and their sons Trent and Joshua are also arrested.

Trent is charged with incest, perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Julene and Joshua are charged with perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Sept 21: Rick Thorburn fails to face court after a reported overdose.

Sept 23: Detectives say the foster family’s home is a primary crime scene.

2017

June 28: Rick Thorburn is committed to stand trial for murder.

July 27: Josh Thorburn is sentenced to 15 months’ jail after admitting to perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Sept 14: Trent Thorburn is sentenced to four years’ jail after admitting he had sex with Tiahleigh.

Nov 3: Julene Thorburn is sentenced to 18 months’ jail for perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice, with the sentence suspended after six months.

2018

Jan 19: Trent Thorburn is released on parole after 16 months behind bars.

Feb 16: Rick Thorburn seeks a judge-only trial due to publicity surrounding the case.

May 25: Rick Thorburn pleads guilty in the Brisbane Supreme Court to murder, interfering with a corpse, perjury and perverting the course of justice.

Source: AAP

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