The court heard the man was in a sexual relationship with the girl when she was aged between 11 and 16 in the 1990s. Picture: Ross Swanborough
The court heard the man was in a sexual relationship with the girl when she was aged between 11 and 16 in the 1990s. Picture: Ross Swanborough

Stepdad treated girl like ‘sexual partner’

A stepfather whose child abuse victim killed their newborn baby in a caravan park toilet more than two decades ago treated her like his "sexual partner" and she remains traumatised, a Perth court has heard.

The man, who is now aged 56 and cannot be named, pleaded guilty in the WA District Court to having a sexual relationship with the girl when she was aged between 11 and 16 in the 1990s.

Nobody knew about the pregnancy and after the boy was born at the Kambalda caravan park, she stuffed toilet paper in his mouth to keep him quiet then he suffocated.

She left him in the toilet bowl and his body was discovered the next day.

The baby did not have a name, but others have referred to him as Rijul, meaning "innocent" in Hindi.

The mystery was finally solved last year, with the woman pleading guilty to infanticide, and she was handed a suspended jail term.

The man was sentenced in the WA District Court on Thursday. Picture: Ross Swanborough
The man was sentenced in the WA District Court on Thursday. Picture: Ross Swanborough

District Court Judge David MacLean said the abuse tragically became a "routine event" for the girl.

"It appears that you treated the victim as being your sexual partner," he said on Thursday.

"Through your conduct, you took away the right that this victim had ... to have a happy and safe childhood.

"The conduct was aggravated by the fact that it was your duty to protect this child and instead you relentlessly used her for your sexual gratification."

Judge MacLean said the abuse had a "significant traumatic impact on her life" as a teenager and as an adult.

"Not only did it devastate and destroy this child's childhood, but she's carried it with her," he said.

"It's sadly, as is often experienced in these courts, echoed and rippled into the lives of those who are close to her."

Judge MacLean noted the stepfather had since led a lawful life, and he accepted the man was at low risk of reoffending.

The offender was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison and must serve at least six-and-a-half years before he can be eligible for parole.

Originally published as Stepdad treated girl like 'sexual partner'


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