Kiesha's short life filled with abuse
The abuse started years before Kiesha was murdered by her mother.
The little girl was just 15 months’ old when Kristi Anne Abrahams viciously bit her daughter’s shoulder.
Five years later, when Kiesha was reported missing by a seemingly distraught Abrahams and her partner Robert Smith, they described the little girl as ‘‘always happy, bubbly’’.
But that shoulder bite was only the first known incident in a short life filled with severe physical abuse.
As the couple fronted the media near their Mt Druitt home on August 3, 2010 to beg for help in finding Kiesha, Abrahams keened repeatedly, managing only to describe her six-year-old daughter as ‘‘beautiful’’.
‘If anyone has seen her can they please contact police,’’ she said as she clutched a tissue to her nose and mouth.
By then, Kiesha had been dead for three weeks.
Abrahams had knocked her unconscious on July 13 before she and Smith put her to bed.
After Kiesha died, the pair stuffed her body in a suitcase and kept it in her bedroom for the next five days.
They then donned disguises, took a taxi to nearby bushland in Shalvey, burned the child’s body and buried it in a shallow grave.
The Supreme Court would later hear that Kiesha had suffered fracturing to her teeth consistent with a contact sport blow or jumping from a height and landing heavily on the ground.
She had several injuries suggesting repeated assaults over the weeks and months before her death — injuries found only in the remains of children who suffered severe physical abuse.From the start, police had their suspicions.
Abrahams had been convicted of assault occasioning bodily harm after she bit Kiesha and the child was removed from her care for 18 months.
Abrahams was ordered to enter into a parental care plan, attend an anger management course and get counselling before Kiesha was returned to her in December 2006.
Before they reported Kiesha as missing, the couple went to elaborate lengths to pretend she was alive and well.On July 28, 2010, Abrahams went shopping for some toys for Kiesha, including a Tinkerbell poster.
They told police they watched the movie, The Golden Compass, on Channel 9 on the evening of Saturday, July 31 before Abrahams tucked Kiesha into bed in her pink pyjamas and a purple Pumpkin Patch jacket.
They then claimed they woke up the next morning to find the front door ajar and Kiesha missing.But the pair couldn’t hide the fact that no one else had seen Kiesha alive since at least July 7, when her grandmother had seen her.
‘‘That’s the puzzling part for us, the lack of sightings of the young child,’’ officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Inspector Russell Oxford, told reporters at the time.
Eventually, Smith cracked and confessed to an undercover cop. Smith and Abrahams were later arrested at Kiesha’s makeshift grave in April 2011 — eight months after reporting her missing on what would have been her seventh birthday.
Smith, who claimed he was physically abused by Abrahams, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and to being an accessary after murder.
He was jailed for at least 12 years last month by Justice Megan Latham, who found he made the ‘‘simple and cowardly’’ decision to do nothing when Abrahams assaulted the little girl before taking a lead role in getting rid of her body.
Last month, Abrahams, 30, admitted to Kiesha’s manslaughter, but this plea was rejected by the Crown, which was determined to try her for murder.
She also lost a bid to be tried by judge alone on the basis there had been extensive pre-trial publicity that might prejudice a jury.
Now, nearly three years after Kiesha died, the lies are over and Abrahams has finally taken responsibility for ending a tiny life that was all too brutish and short.