Couples who kill: When the family is a child’s worst nightmare

INSIDE the modest fibro house on an ordinary suburban street in Oberon, west of Sydney, the pain, the misery, and the unspeakable horrors rained down on a small boy.

Joseph, 3, was in the same place where it should have been safe with his mother.

But during the winter of 2014, little Joseph has been subjected to torture and cruelty, because it is a reminder to its then-39-year-old mother of the man who had fathered him.

From the day he entered the house, the boy has 51 days to live.

Supported and encouraged by his mother, de facto, Joseph, “father”, the boy has been beaten, forced into a gel Esky to bring out the blues and had a ball stuck in his mouth.

Finally, on Sunday, 2 August 2014, the couple called the police.

Joseph, they said, had been rendered unconscious after tripping over dog leads on the oval in the street.

Called to the hospital, Joseph of other parents quickly realized that the damaged part of the little boy in the intensive care unit bed was not the happy and healthy toddler taken seven weeks earlier.

The doctors could not do anything for Joseph and his life support was switched off.

In three years, Joseph was in the same place where it should have been safe with his mother.

The mother of little Joseph is led away in handcuffs after having been sentenced to 33 years in prison. Photo: News Corp

The house where Joseph had been tortured for seven weeks and then finally fatally struck. Image: Ten News

It took three years, but this month the new south wales Supreme Court has sentenced the mother of Joseph to a minimum of 33 years and his de facto up to 30 years for murder.

The woman said her young son had “just pushed my buttons too many times” and that she had “a lot of thoughts about killing Joseph,” before she did.

Justice Peter Johnson, said Joseph final assault came when he had no real ability to defend itself, and that the boy had been “worn down physically and psychologically” by the torture.

His Honour awarded every two accused, “de facto life sentence,” and sentenced them “ludicrous and cruel” treatment of the boy.

So shocking, with the death of Joseph is hardly unprecedented.

Couples who kill their children are more common than society cares to admit.

In many cases, the child dies after a “father-in-law” moves in the house, the new de facto of the mother of the child.

A prison officer leads Joseph “father-in-law” to a prison van after he was sentenced to 30 years.

The Police ask the father-in-law of Joseph is torture.

The mother of Joseph hated him because he looked like his real father.

Dubbed the Cinderella effect, it usually occurs in homes where drugs and alcohol are commonplace and men are not biologically programmed to raise the children of others resort to cruelty and torture.

Melbourne, Deakin University Professor Greg Tooley, who has studied the effect of Cinderella among the Australians of the deaths of children.

The theory is controversial, but the Professor Toohey found overseas statistics undeniable.

“If you look at the data, for children under the age of two in the US who live with a non-biological parent, and they are overwhelmingly male because most of the kids stick with their moms, they are 100 times more likely to die from physical violence and 40 times more likely to be victims of physical violence,” says Professor Tooley said.

He said that when the biological parents became angry with their children, a protection mechanism kicks in and they took control before harming their child.

The judicial police, enter the Oberon house after Joseph, the parents claim the boy was injured tripping over dog leads. Photo: 9 NEWS.

A step-parent, sometimes, may not “because they do not have a genetic link with the child.”

But what is it the beau-parent “loses with the child and the biological parent, generally the mother, joins?

And, in some cases, there are two biological parents who target one child in the house, who becomes the victim.

Dr. Lillian De Bortoli has studied child deaths at the hand of one of their parents, and found four types of filicide other than that imposed by a step-parent.

When one of the biological parents decide to kill, aided and abetted, as in the case of Joseph by their partner, the child has no chance.


Six-year-old John Ashfield was murdered after months of abuse at his father-in-law took it to him with a hammer.

John Ashfield was one of five young children living in the East of Nowra house where 25-year-old Gunn-Britt Ashfield, lived in 1993 with her de facto Austin Allan Hughes, 20.

One day, her mother became furious after hearing a rumor that the first-year pupil had touched his three-year-old sister in an inappropriate way.

Ashfield has decided that John should not be allowed to “get away with it”, and his boyfriend has accepted.

They decided to teach John “a lesson”, and went into her room and began to hit him.

Like his brothers and sisters saw or heard, the beating turned into a frenzy.

In an attack on the boy, which lasted two hours, Ashfield and Hughes punched him and hit him with an aluminum curtain rod.

Co-killer Austin Allan Hughes.

John’s mother Gunn-Britt Ashfield.

The little boy sobbed, begged them to stop and repeated, “I’m sorry”.

Hughes mocked him, saying: “You scream like a little girl,” and was forced to wear one of his sister’s dresses.

John cried out, “Get it off, I am not a girl.”

Furious, Hughes grabbed a hammer, and with a phone book against John’s head, he repeatedly beat him until John is sprawled out on the bed.

Ashfield put his unconscious son in a cold shower, then a hot shower.

When she called an ambulance, Ashfield said the paramedics that John had been struck and kicked by a gang of teenagers in a nearby park.

Hughes leaves Silverwater jail after serving 16 years for the murder of her lover six-year-old son.

The couple has been coach Jean-eight-year-old brother, Allan, to say among adolescent girls, the young people had put on them as they returned to the house from a milk purchase for racing.

When the font has loaded Ashfield and Hughes, the murder, an angry crowd gathered at Nowra Court.

The two were convicted of murder and sentenced to 21 years in prison, which was reduced to 19 years on appeal, with a minimum of 14 years.

Ashfield has changed her name to Anjelic Karstrom, and has since been released, has Hughes.

Gunn-Britt Ashfield, now known as Angelic Karstrom, walks from Dillwynia prison in the west of Sydney in 2011.

“SW” and ” BW’

The parents of Ebony, BW and SW (above), left to die of hunger in their home on the new south wales Central Coast.

A few years ago, she was starved to death by her parents, the girl known as “Ebony” has been a chubby child.

Autistic, Ebony was the youngest of three sisters living with their Valium-addicted mother and her controlling husband.

The parents, who cannot be identified as SW, and BW, has lived for years in the suburbs of Sydney, Matraville, where the Ebony was mostly locked up in his bedroom to keep his compulsive habit of touching everything.

Ebony’s decline was well in train by the time the family had moved from Sydney to Hawks Nest, on the new south wales Central Coast, in August 2007.

Protection of the child, the authorities and other bodies attended to the family of the house many times, and the Ebony had been placed on a watch file.

Ebony was starved to death in 2007 by his parents, Valium addict, and a control narcissistic.

The little girl 9kg body was found in a waste-strewn bedroom in the new south wales Central Coast home.

But, in November 2007, the SW called an ambulance after she was unable to revive his daughter.

In death, the seven-year-old weighed just nine kilograms, and was found lying in a squalid room covered in his own waste.

SW’s murder trial heard medical evidence that Ebony was so deteriorated physically, it would probably have been unable to stand, sit or swallow food in her last days.

The mother said that alcohol and prescription drugs had prevented her from realizing that her daughter was near death.

But the sentencing judge described SW as “very wicked and cruel” and imprisoned for life, which was reduced on appeal to a maximum of 40 years.

BW, the controller, has been found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 12 years, which could mean that it’s going to be released in 2019.

The bedroom where the Ebony of starving to death in its own waste, aged seven. Photo: John Grainger.


Crocodile tears: Robert Smith and Kristi Anne Abrahams is calling for help to find their “missing” daughter, Kiesha, who was killed and dumped.

After the declaration of his six-year-old daughter Kiesha Weippeart missing on August 1, 2010, Kristi Anne Abrahams shed tears for the cameras of the media who came to report the story.

Kristi and her partner, Robert Smith, cried, saying they had no idea who would have been able to Kiesha.

“If anyone has seen her can they please contact the police,” Abrahams, 27, sobbed, “She is beautiful.”

Neighbors and friends made a desperate search on the streets near the couple’s Mt Druitt home in western Sydney.

But no trace of Kiesha might be found, and for the next eight months, Abrahams and Smith maintained the pretence.

Kristi Anne Abrahams is led in handcuffs to a prison van. Photo: Stephen Cooper

Kiesha Weippeart was murdered because she looked like her father.

But in April of the following year, the police found skeletal remains in a suitcase in a corner of the bush grave at Shalvey, near Mt Druitt.

Kiesha’s body showed lesions compatible with the long-term violence and serious blunt force trauma suggesting it had been struck the ground or another hard object.

It would be necessary to Abrahams for years in order to admit that she had killed her daughter, which she hated because the girl resembled his biological father.

It is clear that Abrahams was convicted of biting Kiesha in the shoulder when she was 15 months.

At the age of three, Kiesha told a social worker her mum had burnt with a cigarette.

Abrahams tired of Kiesha and her wetting the bed and told the girl’s father on the phone, “I’m really struggling, I’ll kill her.’

Abrahams said on the night Kiesha died, she had “pushed” and she fell.

Police find Keisha skeletons in the bushland at Shalvey, in western Sydney.

The girl felt like “jelly”, when he is put to bed, to be found dead the next morning.

However, a forensic expert would find fractures of Kiesha’s teeth uniform blows, as “a wound”.

Abrahams and Smith kept Kiesha’s body in a suitcase for five days after his death, before burning and burying her.

A judge has sentenced Abrahams to a maximum term of 22.5 years for the murder of the “vulnerable and defenceless’ of the child and for interfering with her body afterwards.

Abrahams’ defense lawyer said that she had an intellectual disability, an IQ below 70 and was a “product of what happened to him”, from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Smith has received a minimum of 12 years in prison.

Kristi Anne Abrahams, with Robert Smith, sheds a tear after her daughter Kiesha Weippeart disappears.