Tiahleigh Palmer's foster father to plead guilty to murder

Richard Thorburn on the day he was arrested over his foster daughter’s death. Photo: Jorge Branco. Courtesy: Brisbane Times

Rick Thorburn has indicated he will plead guilty to murdering Queensland schoolgirl Tiahleigh Palmer.

His lawyer, Adam Guest, told the Brisbane Supreme Court on Monday the matter would not go to trial as planned. 

Thorburn would instead enter a plea on May 25 to murdering his 12-year-old foster daughter and disposing of her body.

Tiahleigh’s body was found on the banks of the Pimpama River six days after she went missing while in the care of Thorburn and his family in October 2015.

Thorburn, who was not in court on Monday, would also plead guilty to a charge of perjury relating to lies he told about the young girl’s disappearance, Mr Guest said. 

A pre-trial hearing later this week where Thorburn was expected to seek a judge-only trial because of publicity around the high-profile case has been cancelled. 

Thorburn remained in custody and was facing a life sentence for the murder.

Tiahleigh’s mother, Cindy Palmer, said she hoped the justice her daughter deserved would come on May 25.

“Thank you, everyone, for your support and for respecting my family’s privacy,” she said, in a statement.

“I have lots to say but right now, I will let the police and court do their job.

“Tia, I love you.”