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Kiesha Abrahams' mother and stepfather arrested after trip to lonely bushland grave, 23 April 2011

HOMEPAGE NEWS REPORTS INDEX

 NEWS APRIL 2011

Original Source: TELEGRAPH: 23  APRIL 2011
Clementine Cuneo and Tim Vollmer
April 23, 2011 12:00AM [April 22, 2011 15:00PM BST]
 

Couple charged with murdering young girl

 

KIESHA Abrahams was killed during an assault by her mother and step-father in their Sydney unit, her body left for three days before it was buried in a bush grave, police will allege.

Following the arrest and charging of Kristi Abrahams, 28, and Robert Smith, 31, over Kiesha's alleged murder yesterday, The Daily Telegraph can now exclusively reveal the police case against the pair.

It will be alleged that, three days after her death - on or about July 20 last year - Kiesha's body was carried from the Hebersham home in a suitcase.

Abrahams and Smith allegedly caught a taxi to a bush reserve in Shalvey, where the body was buried near the Air Services Australia land site.

Police will allege Smith later burned the suitcase.

There, in the lonely bush grave, the little girl remained undiscovered until yesterday, when Abrahams and Smith were arrested near the gravesite on what would have been Kiesha's seventh birthday.

Under the cloak of darkness, and clutching a small bunch of flowers, the pair unwittingly walked into a police trap.

Unaware they were being followed by a carload of homicide investigators who were ready to pounce, Abrahams and Smith wandered into the bush on Thursday night, allegedly to visit Kiesha's grave.

They left hours later, about 1am, and were immediately handcuffed by police, who had trailed them into the dense bushland and waited for them to emerge on to a well-lit nearby street.

As the sun came up yesterday over the Shalvey bushland, police began the grim search for the little girl's remains. By 8am, police had located enough "small sized bones" to suggest they had found what they were looking for.

The shallow grave in which the child had been buried nine months ago had been disturbed over time.

For hours, forensic officers and homicide investigators painstakingly searched for any other clues they could find.

It was horrific work, part of a long and difficult police investigation.

Metre by metre, dozens of police scoured the bush site.

Their job was made more difficult by the length of time since the body was allegedly dumped there, and because it was an area regularly used by trail bike riders.

Police meticulously sifted through the long grass and around the base of tree trunks, looking for more evidence to finalise their investigation.

It was arduous work for up to 30 officers scattered through the bush.

It was necessarily slow and delicate police work carried out in rugged terrain.

Officers were seen mapping out an area which they believed to be part of the crime scene, then step-by-step, they scoured for evidence.

Many of the police involved in the search were parents themselves, adding an extra emotional difficulty to their grim task.

Even before Thursday night, detectives were finally ready to move in and make an arrest.

They had gathered intelligence that the couple would visit the child's burial site some time around her birthday. They followed the couple's every move until they travelled to the bushland site, and then made an arrest.

The Daily Telegraph has been told the couple booked themselves into a motel in the City on Thursday night.

Smith's mother Rebecca drove them to Parramatta train station, where they were to board a train to Central.

Instead they boarded a west-bound train, each carrying an overnight bag, and got off at Mt Druitt station.

Police allege they bought a bunch of flowers at a local florist kiosk, then got into a taxi at the station and were driven to nearby Shalvey, where they then set off on foot into the bushland.

It is understood Abrahams and Smith spent hours in the area of Kiesha's grave. They were arrested about 1am when they walked back to the first well-lit area, in Freya St.

Police allege Kiesha was murdered by Abrahams and Smith sometime between July 20 and 27, 2010.

The little girl was not reported missing until August 1, when her mother contacted police and said Kiesha was not in her bedroom when the family woke up that Sunday morning.

Police allege Abrahams called triple-0 to say she woke at 9.30am that day to find her daughter Kiesha missing from her bedroom and the front door of the unit open.

When police arrived at the unit, they allegedly spoke to Abrahams, who said Kiesha had either wandered from the home of her own accord, or she may have been abducted by someone who gained access via the unlocked door.

Police will allege the two theories are impossible because the door to the unit was heavy and hard to open without a fair amount of force, and the deadlock on the door was broken and it could only be unlocked from inside the unit.

Police will allege Smith told them that, the night before Kiesha was reported missing, the family watched a movie called The Golden Compass, then Kiesha was put to bed at about 9.30pm.

Police will allege that, when the unit was forensically searched, they found blood in Kiesha's bedroom, in the master bedroom, on the loungeroom floor and at the entrance to the unit.

There was also allegedly blood on the floor, doors, lounge and bedsheets.

Throughout their investigation, police have spoken to family of Abrahams and Smith, and friends of the couple, who have given information about the way Kiesha was allegedly treated.

Police also allegedly spoke to a resident in the unit above the one occupied by Abrahams and Smiths who heard screaming about 6am the day Kiesha was reported missing.

Abrahams and Smith both chose not to appear in person or on screen in Parramatta Bail Court yesterday.

"[Abrahams] has indicated to me she is immensely distressed this morning," the couple's legal aid solicitor Alexander Reetov told the court.

Neither applied for bail and it was formally refused by registrar Ross Lawton, who remanded them in custody.

Both will reappear at Penrith Local Court next Friday.

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