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Kyhesha-Lee Joughin’s mother breaks her silence

NowToLove logo NowToLove 3/03/2017 Candice Mehta-Culjak
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WARNING: Some readers may find the following content disturbing.

Kyhesha-Lee Joughin died in March 2013 after suffering deliberate and protracted physical and sexual assault.

Her father, Matthew Lee Williamson, is being sentenced for the manslaughter of his daughter in Brisbane District Court after he pleaded guilty late last year.

Williamson denies ever having harmed the child and has instead blamed the fatal abuse on his former housemate, who has also pleaded guilty to the child’s manslaughter.

Kyhesha’s mother Danielle Joughin has sat through two days of confronting evidence provided by witnesses, including her ex-partner’s former flatmate, Christopher Arthur Neville Kent.

Speaking with The Courier-Mail as she left court yesterday, Ms Joughin explained that the hearing had revealed details that were previously unknown to her.

“It’s hard to comprehend ­really,” Ms Joughin said outside court.

“No one helped her. It’s disgusting.”

Kyhesha’s grandmother, Tanya Joughin, was seen to leave the court in tears after hearing allegations that a Williamson kept a photo of himself with his penis draped over the toddler’s shoulder.

After hearing two days of evidence, Justice Roslyn Atkinson was anticipated to hand down her findings as to what role Williamson played in the toddler’s death as well as his appropriate punishment.

However, the case has now been adjourned until mid-March after Williamson’s defence barrister requested a report into whether a “psychological abnormality” may have contributed toward his treatment of Kyhesha.

Kyhesha-Lee's grandfather, Doug Joughin, says the delay of Williamson's sentence is "a curveball."

“We just want closure so we can just carry on,” he said outside the court.

The court heard that Williamson failed to seek medical attention after Kyhesha vomited for days, showed obvious bruising on her face and left blood in her nappies believed to be the result of violent sexual abuse.

“I didn’t think anything of it at the time,” he said. “I was afraid I’d lose her to welfare … because of the state she was in.”

Ms Joughin told the court that she and her ex-partner failed to establish any formal custody arrangements for the toddler and after he had Kyhesha for a visit he refused to return her.

Kyhesha-Lee died after a penetrative bowel injury - consistent with a blow from a fist or foot or an adult falling on her - became infected. The toddler also had bruising on her face, cuts to her ears and lip as well as a crushed finger.

Appearing in court, William’s former flatmate explained that he witnessed the regular physical abuse of the toddler while living in the squalid Petrie apartment where Kyhesha-Lee died on March 30. He added that Williamson, who denies causing the injuries, had punched the child in the belly in the weeks leading up to her death.

He added that the father would keep Kyhesha-Lee locked in her bedroom for hours at a time and would become extremely angry when the toddler would defecate and throw her faeces around the room.

“It was like two adults fighting,” he said.

“She cried and cried and cried, and all Matt could do was yell.”

Kent recalled that Williamson was more concerned with getting a coffee and a cigarette than helping him to resuscitate the toddler.

“He didn’t give a s*,” Kent said of his former flatmate, who reportedly slept on a nearby couch as the toddler’s lips turned blue.

“He just wanted his coffee and smoke.”

Kent, who has a criminal history dating back to 1989, has previously been convicted of sexual assault but claims he never abused the toddler.

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