On Monday, the first day of her trial, Kristi Anne Abrahams pleaded guilty to murdering her six year old daughter Kiesha. It was a shock that nobody expected. The trial was set to run for weeks, then suddenly it was all over. As the news slowly filtered through to relatives and friends of the little girl, there was a sense of quiet jubilation that Kristi Abrahams was finally going to get what she deserved.
She will be remembered as the evil woman who put on an academy award performance, playing the distraught mother whose child had gone missing, when she knew that her body was buried in bushland not far away.
And she must have got a shock when she learned that unlike her partner, Robert Smith, she couldn't plead guilty to manslaughter because the Crown was determined to try her for murder.
In February 2012, Smith pleaded guilty to Kiesha's manslaughter and to being an accessory after the murder. He told the judge he was physically abused by Abrahams, she often gave him a black eye, and knowing what she was capable of, he once jumped off the balcony of their first-floor unit to escape an argument. Justice Megan Latham accepted that Abrahams was "volatile, argumentative, domineering and verbally abusive" but rejected his claim that because he was frightened of her, it wasn't really his fault, and sentenced him to a minimum of 12 years jail.
Kristi Abrahams is a cruel woman who hated her daughter. We will never know how much Kiesha suffered at the hands of her mother and step-father but we do know that when she was 15 months old, her mother bit her on the shoulder with such force, she had to be hospitalized.
Abrahams was convicted of assault occasioning bodily harm and the child was removed from her care for 18 months. And then the system let Kiesha down by sending her back to her mother. Abrahams had to undergo a parental care program and attend an anger management course, but in December 2006, someone made the decision to send her back into the arms of her mother.
The abuse ended when Kiesha died from serious blunt force trauma injuries to the jaw area, suggesting her head had been slammed into the ground. Unconscious with blood seeping out of her ears, Abrahams then put her to bed instead of taking her to hospital and a few hours later she was dead.
Undercover police were able to befriend the couple which led to their arrest at Kiesha's burial site. Detective Inspector Russell Oxford said Abraham's guilty plea was the culmination of three years hard work. The case had taken its toll on the officers involved. "The hours they put into this, it was very emotional, very difficult all the way" he said.
Abrahams will be sentenced next Monday, June 24.