The man who stood by and watched as his six-year-old stepdaughter, Kiesha Weippeart, died from violent injuries, and then burned and buried her body, has been sentenced to at least 12 years in jail.
Robert Smith, 34, knew that his stepdaughter, Kiesha had suffered a serious head injury on July 13, 2010, but failed to give her medical attention or call for help, leaving her to die a day later.
In sentencing judge Megan Latham’s words, Smith then “assumed the primary role in the destruction and burial of the deceased’s body”.
The 34-year-old placed his stepdaughter’s body in a suitcase and left it there for a full week before taking her in a taxi to a different address.
From there, he took the child’s body to parkland in the nearby suburb of Shalvey, doused her with petrol and set her alight.
He then put her remains in a shallow grave, placing a discarded pouch above it in an attempt to throw off police.
Though the exact cause of the six-year-old’s death is not known, a postmortem later revealed that she had recently sustained a violent blow to the head.
She had a number of partially healed fractures suggesting a long history of abuse.
Smith pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of the girl on the grounds of gross criminal negligence and to being an accessory after the fact of murder.
Another person is awaiting trial for murder and cannot be named.
Justice Latham said that the manslaughter charge fell into the “most serious category” , and that she “could not recall a more serious case of accessory to murder after the fact”.
“The loss of consciousness in a six-year-old would move all but the most callous of adults to seek medical attention, let alone someone who claimed to see that child as a daughter,” she said.
“The act of burning the body was particularly heinous.”
Her honour sentenced Smith to a maximum sentence of 16 years with a minimum non parole period of 12 years.
With time served he will be eligible for parole in April 2023.
Kiesha Weippeart died from violent injuries. Photo: Supplied
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