The toughest job of all

The murder of six-year-old Kiesha Weippeart wasn’t the first child killing Russell Oxford has investigated – and it is unlikely to be the last.

But voice cracking and eyes glassy, the experienced detective’s reaction to her mother’s jailing on Thursday revealed the heavy burden homicide police carry in cases such as this.

“Three years ago today, a little girl called Kiesha Weippeart lay dead in a suitcase,” Detective Inspector Oxford said outside the Supreme Court.

“She was taken out in the cover of darkness, and put in a shallow grave and burnt. They’re the lasting impressions that we get out of this.”

There was no bravado, no over-statement. Just heartache for the little girl as a policeman, and as a father.

“All I can say is, just remember this little girl, this six-year-old girl, who was taken away. All kids want to do in life is to grow up to be loved, and to make their make in this world. And I think for Kiesha Weippeart, the mark she’s made in this world is, unfortunately, in death. And that’s not the way it is meant to happen.”

Abrahams was sentenced to at least 16 years jail, with a maximum of 21, for murdering her daughter, hiding her body in a suitcase and burying her in a bushland near her Mt Druitt home.

While it was clear that police were disappointed with the length of the sentence given, Detective Inspector Oxford made no comment as to its adequacy, saying that was for others to do.

Instead, he said he reflected on his own life, of his own role in it as a father, and urged others to do the same.

“I think if nothing else comes out of today, we should all take stock of where we are in this world, and go home and hug your kids,” he said, barely suppressing the emotion of the day.

“Honestly, there are so many other things going on … it’s only in matters like today that put things in perspective, that family is important to us … go home and hug our kids and look after them and let them grow up and have opportunities that this little girl didn’t have.”

Flanked by a team of up to a dozen fellow officers, Detective Inspector Oxford said what his team did in bringing Kiesha’s mother, Kristi Abrahams, to justice was nothing more than their jobs.

“That’s my team – they’re the people, the unknown faces you haven’t seen, that have worked tremendously long hours, without sleep for days,” he said.

“It’s been three years, it’s been a very, very long time … it’s taken a very emotional toll on a lot of people, it’s effected a lot of people, certainly within the police, the family and the community itself, as you can see by the attendance of people in court today. Everybody wants to know about this case.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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