Bitterness over missing Sydney girl

BY JESSICA MAHAR, GEESCHE JACOBSEN AND BRIAN ROBINS
Last updated 09:55 06/08/2010

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As police divers searched dams for the body of Sydney girl Kiesha Abrahams, the recriminations and accusations between the missing girl's separated parents boiled over.

Police said they had been told of allegations that Kiesha's father, Christopher Weippeart, pointed a gun at his daughter, her half-sister, Brianna, and her stepfather, Robert Smith, last month.

And the NSW Ombudsman has announced he will investigate the role of government agencies in the child's protection.

Kylie Marshall, a friend of Kiesha's mother, told the Herald the gun allegations had been reported to police only after the child's disappearance.

''Four weeks ago the father rode past on a bike when Robbie was out hanging the clothes on the line with the two girls, Brianna and Kiesha, and pointed a gun at them,'' she said.

But a spokesman for Mr Weippeart said he was at Nepean Hospital at the time, having his toe amputated.

''We don't want a trial by media; we've heard these allegations,'' he said.

Ms Marshall also alleged Mr Weippeart had not seen his daughter for five years and had signed court documents saying he did not want contact with her.

Her comments follow statements by Mr Weippeart that Kiesha had been bitten by an adult. Channel Nine reported last night that her mother, Kristi Abrahams, had been charged with assault over the incident, but had no conviction recorded against her.

Police also questioned Kiesha's stepfather. Mr Smith told News Ltd that they asked him to ''lead us to her body'' and said they would help with counselling if he co-operated.

He said there was ''no way in the world'' he would have hurt Kiesha. He also said that police had not asked Ms Abrahams about a body.

Police searched quarries in Mount Druitt and bushland and dams in Marsden Park, where - according to a tip-off - a girl fitting Kiesha's description had been led away by a man on either Saturday or Sunday morning. The search is to continue today.

Community workers spent nearly an hour with the family last night.

The NSW Ombudsman's office has announced it will investigate the role of government agencies in the child's protection. It is an unusual move, as previous inquiries have occurred only after a child had been found dead.

The inquiry follows reports that at least three government departments - Community Services, Health and Education - had been involved with the girl.

The Ombudsman, Bruce Barbour, called for details of all files held by government departments. He said that in the light of concerns raised in recent days, he would be conducting inquiries into relevant activities by key agencies before the child's disappearance.

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In the two key cases that led up to the 2008 Wood special commission on child protection services - that of Dean Shillingworth and the one involving the child known only as Ebony - both cases emerged only once the child had died.

The Herald reported yesterday that Kiesha had previously been removed from, and then returned, to her mother.

She was reported missing about 10am on Sunday. Her mother told police she had last seen her when she had been put to bed at 9.30pm.

- Sydney Morning Herald

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