Tiahleigh Palmer’s grandmother has claimed the schoolgirl had the opportunity to leave her foster home but chose to stay because she had a ‘crush’ on her  foster brother.

Grandmother, Sue Palmer, 65, who cared for Tiahleigh until she was 10, said the 12-year-old was invited to return to her mother’s home in the months before her death but she refused.

‘She said she wanted to stay [at the farm] because of the boy and because she loved the horses on the property that they have there,’ Ms Palmer told The Courier Mail.

Ms Palmer said the family were not aware of the alleged incest RAPE from her foster brother, but knew she had a ‘crush’.

On Wednesday, the court heard her foster brother Trent Thorburn, 19, allegedly admitted to a cousin via Facebook he had incestuous sex RAPED Tiahleigh and feared he impregnated her two days before she vanished from Marsden State School on October 28. It is believed she was smothered the night before she was reported missing.

On Wednesday, the court heard Tiahleigh told her foster parents Trent Thorburn had been sexually assaulting her when they two were alone.

Trent has been charged with incest, perjury and perverting the course of justice, while his father, 56, has been charged with murder and interfering with a corpse.

The court also heard Tiahleigh had told a friend that she went to her foster mother Julene Thorburn, 53, to report the sexual abuse, the Australian reported.

‘The victim had disclosed to her that when her foster carer went out, their son would then have sex with her,’ police prosecutor Ellen French told the court.

‘She further said that the victim claimed to have disclosed this to her foster mother.’

Tiahleigh’s foster father, 56, was due to appear in the same court on Wednesday but was in an induced coma in hospital after a suspected self-harm attempt while in custody.

Queensland police confirmed to Daily Mail Australia Thorburn was still in the medically induced coma on Thursday afternoon and in a stable condition.

There was NO “relationship”

Using the term “relationship” when it comes to the acts of this foster brother crosses the line, statutory rape is sexual activity in which one of the individuals is below the age required to legally consent to the behaviour. She was only 12. There was no “relationship” here.

Jane Gilmore said it in one little paragraph, “Murder is not protection. Abuse is not a relationship. Rape is not sex.

Jane writes, With a single headline, The Daily Mail turns an alleged child murderer into a loving father protecting his son, and an alleged child abuser into a romantic lover.


Killing to “protect” someone is self defence, killing a child to cover up your son’s crime is murder.

Rape is not sex.

Abuse is not a relationship.”

Previous updates on this story can be found below.

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  • What an absolutely horrible loss of a young life. I really object to how some people in the media, in an attempt to tow every possible politically correct line end up causing the people that are left behind additional grief by labeling things like rape as “illegal sexual relationship,” and so on.


  • Sorry, but underage sex is breaking a law, even if the couple is agreeable. There is a mininum age for the girl. I know a couple who checked the law and I forget what the age is. It was about 15 years ago and I can’t remember what the age is.

    The Grandma should have taken action as soon as she became aware of the situation.


  • Its one thing to be protective of your child (the 19yr old son) but its another to protect them when you know they have done wrong. I understand that the Foster parents love their son very much but parents need to stop making out that their kids can do no wrong and make their kids stand up and face the music of their wrongs.


  • Horrific indeed ! And how awful that this foster family was such a sick system. I don’t understand how they’ve been approved to become foster carers. So important to have foster carers properly and thoroughly checked and psychological tested, not only the parents but also their kids.


  • Shocking, horrific and ultimately a sad loss of a young life. Accountability must be made by many people.

    • RIP Tiahleigh and may your memory be cherished.


  • This is such a horrific case. Poor Tialeigh, if only her foster mother had followed up on the abuse, she may still have been alive today!


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