Couple jailed for abusing adopted daughter

Couple jailed for abusing adopted daughter

A PERTH couple who neglected and abused their adopted daughter, including beating her with a rubber hose and forcing her to sleep in a cold, dark shipping container with no bedding, have been jailed for four years.

The pair, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the girl, adopted her aged nine from the Philippines, where she had already suffered trauma at the hands of her birth parents and in an orphanage.

The District Court of WA heard the abuse occurred when she was aged 10 to 12 at their semi-rural property, where she was ordered to run laps around the perimeter of the paddock and made to do menial chores such as weeding or moving rocks.

She was seen by neighbours sitting in bushes “very quietly” and standing alone in heavy rain up to two hours at a time.

“She was just standing there. It was raining, pelting,” the neighbour testified.

While another girl the couple had adopted from the Philippines slept in the house, went on family outings and was allowed access to items such as TVs and computers, she was not.

“We don’t want you coming ice skating with us … you don’t deserve it,” the woman told her.

During about three months during winter, the girl was regularly forced to sleep in an unlit shipping container, which she described as “freezing”.

She went to the toilet before she was locked in overnight or when the family went on outings.

She went to school smelling strongly of urine, wore battered shoes and was seen at a bus stop without a jumper, looking cold.

The court heard she was assaulted with hands and objects including a tennis racket and a rubber hose, and verbally abused and threatened.

“I want to kill you right now,” the woman said.

“I’m so close to killing you. I want to shoot you and your head will go into 1000 pieces.”

The woman told her teachers she was disruptive and manipulative but they described her as bright and keen to improve academically.

The principal said she was upset when she arrived at class, cheered up during the day then became anxious again.

“That’s because she was going home again to you,” Judge Alan Troy said on Wednesday.

“You must have known she was suffering.”

He accepted the couple, who had previously fostered children, had many positive references and had previously made a valuable contribution to their community and churches.

“It is an appalling fall from grace for each of you,” Judge Troy said.

The couple must serve two years behind bars before being eligible for parole.