Warning: This post details child abuse and may be distressing for some readers.
A man who threw a two-year-old girl against a shower screen, kicked her, whipped and beat her and left her unconscious and “gurgling” for two days and nights in a pram dying has appealed his sentence for her murder over fears of the violence he may experience while in jail.
In 2013 Warren Ross was found guilty of murdering two-year-old Tanilla Warrick-Deaves, the daughter of his partner. He was sentenced to 40 years jail with a non-parole period of 30 years in 2014.
Two-year-old Tanilla Warrick-Deaves. Via Justice for Tanilla Facebook.
Ross abused two-year old Tanilla in the weeks before her death as he tried to toilet train her. He forced her to run laps until she collapsed, whipped her with various implements and hit her.
Evidence showed that Ross would punish Tanilla for “anything”, using electric cords, shoes, a belt and his hand. He would hold her under cold showers and call her an animal. He would throw her across the room and believed that Tanilla, aged just 2, was deliberately defying him.
But Ross, who now serves his time in Sydney’s Silverwater Jail says he shouldn’t serve that length of time on the basis that he faces "onerous jail conditions" reports Fairfax Media.
Tanilla’s mother and Ross’s former partner, Donna Deaves, who received a reduced sentence for testifying against Ross said that before she died she found her daughter being held upside down over the toilet with her partner screaming, “This is the toilet, you’re fucking filthy … and you don’t have any respect!”
She said that her boyfriend then smashed her daughter’s head into the shower screen, kicked her across the room and slapped Deaves across the face.
“I tried to stop it,” Deaves told the court.
“I tried. I couldn’t handle it.”
Tanilla's mum Donna Deaves received a reduced sentence for testifying against Ross.
Deaves and Ross placed the unconscious daughter in her pram and left her for two days and two nights, making ”rattly” and “gurgling” sounds.
One night, whilst watching a movie, Deaves said she noticed her dying daughter had vomited.
She finally called triple-0.
But it was too late.
Doctors found the cause of Tanilla’s death was blunt force head trauma, which caused a subdural haemorrhage.
The pathologist said Tanilla may have survived if she had been treated promptly.
But the two adults meant to be caring for her showed no interest in helping the defenseless toddler.
Relatives of Tanilla Warrick-Deaves said they made 33 reports to the Department of Family and Community Services about her welfare. Image via Twitter.
Yesterday in his appeal Ross' lawyer, Chris Bruce SC, told the NSW Court of Appeal that his client had been beaten on four occasions since he was jailed and fears he may be the victim of “ongoing intimidation and violence” if he is to serve his full sentence.
The court heard that Ross had been assaulted in prison, claimed that "someone had a price on his head" and constantly afraid.
It’s a familiar tale.
At Ross’s trial for Tanilla’s murder a series of witnesses testified that Tanilla was afraid constantly as well, that she cried and screamed each time she saw one of the implements Ross used to beat her.