Those who look the other way
Protecting a killer is never OK, Sherele Moody says
AUSTRALIA, we need to have a big talk about the role Julene Thorburn played in covering up the murder of Tiahleigh Palmer.
While her husband Rick Thorburn is the person responsible for killing the 12-year-old, Julene’s decision to help cover-up Tia’s death cannot be underplayed.
A surprising number of people — including some anti-violence campaigners — are excusing her role in the tragedy, saying she had no choice but to stand by her man because they believe he subjected her to coercive control and/or domestic violence.
Others say she was doing everything in her power to protect her incestuous son and that she was just a victim of circumstance.
And then there are those who mitigate her wrongdoing because “women are not capable” of such vile and reprehensible acts.
I’m here to call bulldust on all of this.
Julene Thorburn was not an innocent bystander caught up in a nightmare of her husband’s making.
She was a victim of her own screwed-up, selfish moral compass.
As a foster carer, Julene’s responsibility to Tia was exactly the same as her responsibility to her own sons. It was her job to love and protect the youngster.
Julene knew Tia lay dead at the family’s property on the night she was killed, but — despite having ample chance to call the police — she did nothing.
She watched Rick Thorburn drive Tia’s body away the next day — and still she did not call the police.
And when the search for Tia did begin, Julene stood by as her husband joined the community, authorities and Tia’s family in the desperate hunt for the schoolgirl.
Julene had opportunity after opportunity to confess to police and to ease the heartache on Tia’s loved ones, but she only started making things right when the threat of a significant jail term emerged.
By painting Julene as the victim, we are belittling Tia’s memory.
The reality is some women are selfish. Some women act reprehensibly. Some women protect killers. How do I know?
I know because my mother married Barry Gordon Hadlow, despite knowing he was on parole for killing five-year-old girl Sandra Dorothy Bacon in Townsville.
My mother had four young daughters living in her Toowoomba household when Hadlow moved in.
A few years later, he killed nine-year-old girl Stacey-Ann Tracy in Roma and my mother chose to stand by his side.
She refused to speak to police when they came knocking on the door.
She watched on as Hadlow helped the local community search for the child.
She stood up for him as he was arrested and charged.
She gave interviews defending him.
“My husband is innocent — he wouldn’t hurt anyone.
reality is some women are selfish. Some women act reprehensibly. Some women protect killers.
I trusted him more than anyone else in the world and I still do,” she told one media outlet.
“Barry has been victimised his entire life for a split second of madness early in his life.
“Barry is not proud of spending nearly all his life in jail for murdering that little girl.”
My mother did not divorce Hadlow until long after he was convicted.
She chose him over the safety of her own daughters and the community.
She was not under his control in any way.
My mother protected Hadlow because he was her man and she was going to lose her way of life if he went to jail.
My mother never cried a tear for Stacey-Ann Tracy. She belittled Stacey, she belittled Stacey’s family and the amazing detectives who gave Stacey justice.
She blamed Stacey for ruining her life and putting her “innocent” husband behind bars — she blamed everyone for his actions but she never once blamed him.
Yes. Some women are reprehensible and Julene Thorburn is one of them.
May 23, 1990: Nine-year-old Stacey-Ann Tracy was raped and murdered by her neighbour Barry Gordon Hadlow, 48, in Roma.
A 1962 pic of Barry Gordon Hadlow being arrested.
BELOW: October 30, 2015: Tiahleigh Alyssa Rose Palmer was killed by her foster father Rick Thorburn.