William Tyrrell’s foster father allegedly put hands around girl’s neck

William Tyrrell’s foster parents: Young girl told support worker her father put his hands around her throat during an argument and had ‘mental health issues’, court hears

  • William Tyrrell’s foster parents on assault and stalk charges
  • Child told support worker dad grabbed her around neck
  • Numerous secret recordings have detailed assault during week-long trial 
  • READ MORE: Foster parents issue Father’s Day plea

William Tyrell’s foster father allegedly grabbed an 11-year-old girl’s neck during a dispute, a support person testified in court. 

During cross-examination it was revealed that the girl, known as LT, told the support person that her foster father, known as JS, 56, had ‘mental health issues’ at the time of the alleged assault. 

She told the court that LT was ‘sobbing’ as she recounted the incident.

The new details were revealed in Parramatta Local Court on Thursday afternoon after the court had heard LT’s pre-recorded testimony during a closed session. 

The missing toddler’s foster parents are in court to answer to a range of allegations relating to LT, including assault, stalking and intimidation.

The revelation followed three dramatic days in which William Tyrell’s former foster mother, known as SD, 58, broke down numerous times while a police prosecutor played back secret audio recordings of alleged assaults of LT. 

A support person told the Local Parramatta Court on Thursday that the foster father of William Tyrrell (right) allegedly put his hands around the neck of an 11-year-old girl during a dispute

William Tyrrell's foster mother (centre) - who cannot be identified for legal reasons but is known to the court as SD - broke down multiple times as dozens of secret audio recordings were played

During cross-examination by the prosecution, the support worker recounted what LT had told her in December 2022 during a break in a police interview with the girl.

‘We were sitting in a room and LT was quite upset and she was sobbing,’ the witness said.

‘She then turned to me and said “my dad put his hands around my neck, he has mental health issues”.’ 

The support worker said she did not immediately tell the police about it as she ‘did not want to breach trust’, but that she did tell officers immediately after the meeting had ended. 

During cross examination by the foster father’s barrister Phillip English, the support worker clarified that she had accurately recalled what LT had said. 

Rather than putting his hands around her neck, Mr English asked if the girl had instead described her foster father as using an open palm to apply force to her shoulder.

‘No, she did not,’ the support worker stated. 

‘She said exactly what I said in my statement.’

On Wednesday an audio recording was played to the court in which SD was heard to allegedly kick LT during an argument over household chores on October 20, 2021. 

In the recording SD can be heard talking about what the family has endured since William went missing, and the ongoing mystery of what became of him.

‘You don’t know about the stuff we’ve had to do, you don’t know about the stuff that’s going on right now,’ the foster mother told the girl after allegedly kicking her around 7.45am.  

After the incident, the 11-year-old tells the foster father ‘she kicked me’, saying it was because the girl had threatened to kick another child.

The foster mother interrupts and says: ‘Just be quiet and sit there, so now you know how it feels’.

The girl then says to SD: ‘You’re a bad mother’.

The kick was revisited on Thursday when former Salvation Army Captain and family friend Michelle White told the court that SD confided in her after the alleged assault.

Ms White described the foster mother as ‘forthcoming’ and that she acknowledged that she ‘at times has not lived up to her own expectations’ of being a mother. 

According to the statement Ms White gave to police after the kick, the foster mother said she was ‘ashamed’ of what she had done, admitting that she had ‘lost it’ at the time. 

Ms White then asked if the kick had left a visible mark and the foster mother said it had not. 

A seperate incident between the foster mother and the child involved a wooden spoon, which was recorded and played before the court on Tuesday.

On the distressing audio tape, the foster mother can be heard telling the girl to go and get the wooden spoon, followed by the sound of the girl being hit.

The girl then repeatedly wails ‘help me’ before SD tells the girl to ‘shut up’.

In a subsequent recorded phone call, the foster mother tells the foster father they had a problem because the assault had ‘left a welt’.

The foster parents wept during the playing of the recording, which stemmed from a late night confrontation after they took away some of the child’s clothes and toys.

The assault, to which the foster mother has pleaded guilty, happened on January 26, 2021.

William Tyrrell's foster parents exit Parramatta Local Court on Wednesday

The foster parents of missing toddler William Tyrrell (above) are accused of assaulting and stalking and intimidating a primary age schoolgirl in 2021 in a raft of incidents between January and August

The foster mother, 58, who has pleaded guilty to two charges of assaulting the 11-year-old, allegedly struck her the girl during one of several disciplinary sessions after the child called her a ‘f***ing b***h’.

Police allege the foster mother threatened the girl while William’s 56-year-old foster father allegedly ‘grabbed’ the girl by the neck and ‘physically restrained her to sit back down’ in the kitchen of a suburban home.

Following the two guilty pleas, the foster mother failed in a bid by her lawyer to have the five-day trial held in secret and closed off to the public and the media.

While pleading guilty to two counts of assault, the foster mother maintains she is not guilty of stalking the girl and has pleaded not guilty to two counts of intimidation against the same young child.

The foster father has pleaded not guilty to one charge each of common assault and stalk and intimidate. 

But Magistrate Susan McIntyre said she was prepared to allow prosecution evidence on the stalk and intimidate charges.

Her Honour dismissed an application to have the prosecution’s tendency evidence thrown out, saying it had ‘probative value’ in pointing towards the foster mother’s guilt.

‘It is the cumulative effect of all these incidents to show that (the foster mother) knew her conduct was likely to cause fear but nonetheless continued.’

SD and her husband JS were charged with common assault of the girl in late 2021, as police embarked on a new search of bushland near the NSW Mid North Coast town of Kendall for the remains of William Tyrrell.

They have also entered guilty pleas to charges of using a dummy bidder to increase the sale price of their former ‘forever home’ for missing William on Sydney’s North Shore at an auction in 2020.

The charges were downgraded to regulatory offences under the Property and Stock Agents Act and the pair will be sentenced this week and fined.

William disappeared aged three in September 2014 in the NSW Mid North Coast town of Kendall and no trace of the toddler has ever been found.

No-one has ever been charged over his disappearance.

A new search of bushland within 700m of the Kendall house where William was last seen was conducted in late 2021, but no items of significance have been identified.

The foster mother (above in Kendall after William vanished) is appearing in Parramatta Local Court on charges of assaulting and stalking a child


Related posts