EXCLUSIVE: Whipped, tied up inside, fed rotting produce, open sewage in kitchen, dressed in rags: Young girl who blew whistle on parents and family house of horrors tells her incredible story of escape
- Girl who escaped house of horrors tells her story
- Parents face multiple assault, stalk, sex abuse charges
- Teen secured escape for 14 siblings locked in squalor
- READ MORE: Inside Sydney house of horrors
A teenage girl who blew the whistle on the abuse she was subjected to alongside her 13 siblings has detailed the depths of depravity to which they were exposed.
The 17-year-old girl has revealed the children were whipped, tied up, fed rotting food, and for years allowed to venture no further than the locked-up backyard.
She also told Daily Mail Australia how she contacted authorities about conditions inside the ‘disgusting and revolting’ home where all 14 were allegedly staved and beaten.
The children’s mother, 44, and father, 55, are facing multiple charges of assault against their children, as well as allegations of child abuse, indecent assault, stalking and intimidation.
‘We were whipped, tied up to furniture, and could never leave the house except to go into the back yard,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘I remember a few outings when I was younger, to a park and once to the beach, but as (her mother) had more children, that all stopped.
‘We didn’t have TV or the internet, and the only books we had were school books and those for children under five.
‘We were supposedly home-schooled by (her mother) but the only way you could learn was if you taught yourself from the books…’
The teenager lived in several different houses with her large family, with three main residences within a 10-minute drive of one another being the addresses where police allege the bulk of the offending took place.
When the parents were arrested early one morning in late September last year, the family had moved from the ‘house of horrors’ where they had lived for five years to a nearby suburb where they lived for more than a year until the police raid.
The teenage girl said her clothes were ‘all hand-me-downs, old things from people we knew or reject stuff from the market’ and ‘the food was the stuff they threw out or would have been fed to animals because it was too old to eat, that my father got for us.
‘The house was revolting. The bathroom was basically in the kitchen and there was raw sewage flowing through it. Then we moved to a cleaner house, but it was the same (situation) with our parents.’
The family was moved from the home – which was deemed uninhabitable and is now due for demolition – to another house a 10-minute drive away.
At this newer house, the whippings and beatings continued.
The girl, who was by then aged 16, began plotting an escape.
Her chance came during a lengthy stay in hospital, although she did not trust nurses or medical staff to believe her story, saying ‘I didn’t really have proof’.
‘But I knew I had to do something,’ she said.
At the hospital, she gained access to an electronic device and began composing a letter than could be shown to police, and even managed to take some photographs with the tablet as evidence.
Eventually, via another person, an email was sent to police. When they received it they were able to join the dots and prepared to conduct a raid along with welfare officers of the house where the 14 children were allegedly captives.
‘They arrested my parents and took them to jail. Two weeks later I got my first phone,’ the girl said, smiling broadly.
Now living with some of her siblings in a modern suburban house, the girl is well-groomed, smartly dressed and excitedly anticipating her future.
While her younger siblings are now attending school, she is looking forward to starting work in her first job and is planning to change her name and save money for the future.
‘I can’t wait to turn 18,’ she said, saying that her new freedom as an adult will mean she can step out into the world and start enjoying it, although she said she was still frugal with money.
‘People say get this or get that, but I still can’t bring myself to buy lots of things because it feels not right,’ she said.
‘I never went to school, but I can’t wait to work in (my new job).’
The girl described her parents in mixed terms.
‘I say my father is a good man, but a bad father,’ she said. ‘My mother is a bad mother and a bad person.’
The Australian-born mother and her migrant husband, who police allege beat and tortured their 14 children at the squalid house, presented themselves to the outside world as ‘the perfect family’.
Daily Mail Australia can reveal police allege much of the abuse occurred inside the ‘dirty and filthy’ two-storey brick home on an otherwise friendly suburban Sydney street.
The home, allegedly damaged by the mother, now sits abandoned and uninhabitable in a suburb that cannot be named for legal reasons.
Both parents were recently charged with a total of 60 offences, which relate to a vast array of allegations, including that some kids were whipped and beaten.
The charges the parents face include serious assault offences, indecent assault of a child under 16; taking and detaining to gain advantage for sexual, psychological and physical abuse; and intentionally sexually touching a child under 10 years old.
The mother, 44, is also charged with destroying and damaging the home where the children were allegedly abused, knowingly concealing alleged child abuse and failing to inform police.
What neighbours know about Sydney ‘house of horrors’
Daily Mail Australia can reveal the father fled his Arabic-speaking home country after refusing to serve in the nation’s army – a crime that carried a death sentence at the time.
After serving time in a detention centre, he became a permanent resident and married an Australian woman of Anglo background, who converted to Islam.
They allegedly kept the family in ‘atrocious conditions’ at the Sydney home.
The mother was heard shouting at the children from inside the house and rarely seen outside the chained and bolted fence, except wearing an Islamic niqab.
One neighbour said that the father repaired washing machines and other white goods ‘to help pay the bills’ and was defensive about his children not going to school.
He was allegedly traumatised about his past, but ‘was smiling and helpful’ to neighbours and ‘always walking up the street offering assistance’.
But one resident said: ‘I knew there were 13 or 14 kids in there (but) we never saw or heard them’.
Another neighbour said: ‘The windows were always covered and we only saw the children inside when once they waved from the balcony.
‘Except the boys who did go out with (the dad) and the older girls going to prayers with (the father) chasing them down the street.
‘They had chickens, a sheep and rabbits, which escaped into our garden, and the father was always apologetic to us.
‘He was very strict but said he (believed he) was creating a perfect place for all the kids.
‘He was very friendly and brought over sweets and gifts on (Islamic) holidays.
‘When the house became uninhabitable it took him a long time to find anything suitable for so many kids.’
The parents are alleged to have committed offences against their children at six different locations between 2010 and 2022, although police say most of the charges against them stem from incidents inside the ‘house of horrors’.
A real estate agent connected with the property claimed the family was eventually evicted, but while they had lived there the dad gave the impression he was ‘the perfect father of the perfect family’.
We never saw the kids and we rarely saw the wife, and then she was always heavily covered … her face,’ he said.
The property specialist said the dwelling had suffered up to $200,000 worth of damage’ and was ‘ready for a knock down and rebuild’.
Another neighbour described the father as ‘a beautiful man’, who always left things on your doorstep. If he got anything free, he’d give it to you.’
Police removed the children from their parents after the two eldest girls, now aged in their late teens, began secretly recording video evidence of the alleged abuse and emailed authorities.
The charged parents are currently before the courts.
Prosecutors have indicated some of the charges against them will be dropped.
The case returns to court at a later date.