Tanilla Warrick-Deaves
Tanilla Warrick-Deaves

Finally justice for Tanilla, a little girl beaten to death

BEARING the name of his beloved daughter on his arm, the father of toddler Tanilla Warrick-Deaves wept as he thanked the Sydney jurors who yesterday found Warren Ross guilty of her murder.

Adrian Warrick was living at Ballina when his two-year-old daughter died in the care of her mother Donna Deaves and her defacto partner Ross on the NSW Central Coast in August, 2011.

What followed was an intense police investigation and two high-profile court cases, which revealed horrific details about the whippings, beatings and torment Tanilla suffered in the lead up to her death.

Donna Deaves was jailed for at least nine years for manslaughter - the reduced sentence was imposed in exchange for giving evidence against Ross, who pleaded-not guilty to murder when the trial began in October.

In some of the most confronting evidence given in a NSW murder trial in recent times, Deaves told the jury she had watched Ross relentlessly beat her child but could not stop it.

Deaves said that she hated Ross for what he had done, but still loved him at the same time.

The court heard that the abuse - much of which was done in a supposed effort to toilet train the girl - reached its peak when Ross battered the child, picked her up, banged her head on a shower screen and hung her head over the toilet.

For almost two days Tanilla, who had suffered serious head injuries, remained unconscious in her pram before she stopped breathing and Ross finally dialled 000.

The toll the six-week trial had taken on all involved was evident as the verdict, which took the jury more than 24 hours to reach, was read out.

Many of the jurors, who had endured hours of distressing witness accounts and were shown graphic images of the child's broken body, cried as Justice Stephen Rothman recognised the evidence had been traumatic and said counselling would be made available to them.

Tears also came from Ross' mother Sue, whose audible sobbing could be heard throughout the proceedings.

At one point a fuming Ross turned to the back of the court, abused a man in the gallery and screamed "it's all right mum - it's not finished" before threatening and hurling obscenities at news reporters.

Outside court, Mr Warrick and his partner Brooke Bowen, both revealed tattoos on their rights arms which read "justice for Tanilla" and said Ross's conviction had been justice served.

Struggling to speak, Mr Warrick thanked the jurors for "making the right decision" and said Ross, and anyone else who killed a child, deserved to be jailed for life.

Tanilla's body is buried at Ballina where Mr Warrick and Ms Bowen still live.

They told reporters they planned to return to Sydney for the sentencing date, which has yet to be set.

Tanilla's jury returns a guilty verdict in murder trial

WARREN Ross bashed his late step-daughter, Tanilla Warrick-Deaves, to death and is guilty of murder, a Sydney jury has found.

The jury, many members of which were weeping, returned their verdict on the toddler's death a few minutes ago.

Ross had been accused of beating Tanilla, leaving her with serious head injuries. It was alleged she was left in a pram for two days before medical treatment was sought for her.

Ross told the court last month the last words of the child he has now been found guilty of murdering were: "Goodnight daddy, I love you."