The 12-year-old’s decomposing body was discovered on the banks of the Gold Coast’s Pimpama River on November 5, 2015, six days after she went missing while in the care of Thorburn and his family.
Wiping away tears as he sat in the dock at Brisbane’s Supreme Court this morning, the 57-year-old pleaded guilty to murder, interfering with a corpse, attempting to pervert the course of justice and two counts of perjury.
He will be eligible for parole in 2036.
Rick Thorburn has officially plead guilty to murdering 12 year old school girl Tiahleigh Palmer. He is crying. @abcnews
— Allyson Horn (@allysonhorn) May 25, 2018
The father, who police alleged killed Tiahleigh in an attempt to cover up the fact that his son had sexually abused her, has been behind bars since his September 2016 arrest.
In February, Thorburn sought a judge-only trial, but a month later the court was told he would plead guilty to murdering the Marsden High schoolgirl and disposing of her body.
Thorburn is the last of his family members to be punished over the crime.