“She kicked me,” the young girl screams through a stream of tears.
The harrowing and heart-wrenching moment was captured on a covert police surveillance device installed in the home of William Tyrrell’s foster parents.
Moments earlier, the foster mother had kicked the small child in the thigh during a heated argument, a Sydney court heard this week.
On the tape from October 2021, the young child – who cannot be identified – explains that they were about to kick another foster child who was also in the home.
Later, the woman tells her husband “I can’t believe I did that” and is later heard saying sorry to the child.
“I need to apologise to you, I lost complete control and what I did was out of line,” the foster mother says.
The tape was among dozens of recordings played during a five-day court hearing this week during which the couple battled a series of assault and intimidation allegations relating to a young child.
On the recordings, the couple discuss the child’s behaviour and have a series of arguments over various punishments.
The foster mother, 58, had pleaded guilty to two counts of assault, admitting she kicked the child in the thigh as well as smacked them with a wooden spoon.
William Tyrrell disappeared from his foster grandparent’s house in the sleepy Mid North Coast town of Kendall in September 2014.
This week, the foster mother’s barrister John Stratton SC told the court: “(the foster mother) has continuously said that she has no idea where the body of William Tyrrell is.”
In one conversation caught on the police tapes, the foster mother is overheard discussing the police probe into the toddler’s disappearance and how “they’re investigating me”.
“They’re doing it because they f***ed it up … They cleared the guy,” she said.
One witness described the foster mother as a “loving, caring” parent with a “strong sense of right and wrong”.
The foster mother and William’s foster father, 56, are fighting a string of charges which arose out of the tapes and police’s concerns about the treatment of the child.
She has pleaded not guilty to two counts of intimidation and he has pleaded not guilty to one count of common assault and one count of intimidation.
In one recording, the foster parents and the child can be heard for several minutes arguing over household chores.
“Stand up, stand up,” the foster mother can be heard saying.
“Move your hands,” she says before the sound of the mother smacking the child with a spoon can be heard.
The incident relates to one count of common assault to which the woman has pleaded guilty.
In one tape played to the court, the woman warned the child in July 2021 about their “filthy” attitude.
The foster mother of missing toddler William Tyrrell has pleaded guilty to assaulting a child. The 58-year-old woman fronted a Sydney court Monday alongside her husband, who faces charges of his own. She entered guilty pleas to two counts of common assault relating to a child, who is not William. She also pleaded not guilty to two counts of intimidation. The court heard the matter relate to incidents between January and August 2021.
“I’m going to slap you across the face,” the woman says.
She further adds: “Do you want to do that?”
“No,” the child says.
In one recording from May 26, the woman warns the young child about “throwing” items around the house.
“If I see or hear you throw something around again, that won’t be the only thing that gets thrown around,” she says.
“You only seem to listen when I threaten to get violent.”
One of the counts of alleged intimidation related to an incident during which the foster mother refused to wash the child’s clothes and made them do it themselves amid an argument over the child’s behaviour, the court was told.
‘AROUND MY NECK’
The court has heard the child was removed from the home in November 2021 and a month later was interviewed by police with a support person in the room.
The support worker told the court that during a break in the interview, when police were out of the room, the child disclosed an incident when they alleged “my dad put his hands around my neck”.
Megan Payne, from the Department of Communities and Justice, told the court on Friday, that she was also present when the child was interviewed by police and watched via an adjoining viewing room.
“There was a break and (the child) said ‘my dad put his hand around my neck, my dad has mental health issues, my dad has anger management issues,” Ms Payne told the court.
Both the support worker and Ms Payne denied suggestions put to them by the foster father’s barrister Phillip English that the child had in fact said the man placed his hands on their shoulder.
William was only three years old when he vanished from his foster grandmother’s house at Kendall on the NSW Mid North Coast on September 12, 2014, in what has become one of the state’s most notable cold cases.
His body has never been found and no one has ever been charged over his disappearance and suspected death.
The court has heard that the couple continue to deny any knowledge of William’s whereabouts.
The matter will return to court in November.