Those who look the other way

Pro­tect­ing a killer is never OK, Sherele Moody says

The Western Star - - NEWS - Sherele Moody

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.

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