Child killer Rick Thorburn has been transferred to a new prison over fears he was at risk of an attack by fellow inmates if he was to stay at the Southern Queensland Correctional Centre.
The former foster father is serving a life sentence for the murder of 12-year-old Tialeigh Palmer, who was found dead on the banks of a Gold Coast river in 2015, six days after she was first reported missing.
The horrific crime took place after Thorburn learned his son, Trent, had had sex with the young schoolgirl and feared she was pregnant.
The Queensland Corrective Services confirmed on Thursday that Thorburn is now serving time at the Woodford Correctional Centre, but would not specify why he had been moved.
According to The Courier-Mail, Thorburn was at risk of being killed by another prisoner and was on suicide watch for months before he was transferred. He will reportedly eventually be moved to the Wolston Correctional Centre in Brisbane’s west.
“He states he will assault anyone who gets in his business,” an officer told the publication. “But people believe he will be a victim of jail murder if he doesn’t stop himself.
“He’s an arrogant piece of shit…we’re told he will go firstly to Woodford and then to Wolston.”
The Courier-Mail also reports the criminal will remain in safety units at Woodford while his condition is being monitored.
This means Thorburn will have no contact with other prisoners and will spend time with a psychologist or counsellor before he is taken off of suicide watch.
Back in May when the foster father’s sentence was handed down, defence barrister Greg McGuire told the court Thorburn was on medication for depression and read out a letter on Thorburn’s behalf in which he apologised for his despicable crime.
“Not a day goes by that I’m not haunted by what I’ve done,” Thorburn said in his court statement.
Shortly after Thorburn’s sentence was handed down, Tiahleigh’s mum Cyndi Palmer spoke out about her heartbreak in an exclusive interview with 60 Minutes, in which she revealed the heavy criticism she faced following her daughter’s death, with some blaming her for giving Tialeigh up in the first place.
“I did everything I could to try and get her back. I wanted our family to be whole again,” the distraught mother explained.
Thorburn will be eligible for parole in 2036, while son Trent was released in January after serving 16 months for incest, perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice.