A father who stuffed his stepdaughter’s body into a suitcase before burning down the body is only weeks away from being freed from prison, causing outrage in the town where she was killed.
Robert Smith is serving a minimum 12-year term for manslaughter and being an accessory to the death of Kiesha Abrahams, a six-year-old girl, in 2010.
Smith was imprisoned in 2013 along with Kiesha’s mother, Kristi Abrahams, who was found guilty of murder and sentenced to at least 16 years in prison.
Kiesha died in her bed at their Hebersham house in Sydney’s western suburbs after being beaten senseless by her mom for refusing to put on her pyjamas.
Once Kiesha was beaten, the pair did not seek medical attention, but rather placed her in the shower and then in bed, where she died.
Notwithstanding the heinous act, the NSW State Parole Authority (SPA) has established an ‘intention to grant parole’ and intends to release Smith as soon as April 24, prompting demonstrations in Mount Druitt.
Protesters took to the streets on Monday to demand that he not be released after the State Parole Authority (SPA) announced their intention to do so.
Alison Anderson, formerly a passionate friend of Kristi Abrahams and one of the most vociferous in the quest for justice, led the chants to put Smith behind bars outside Smith’s mother’s house in Bidwill.
Ms. Anderson told me that the couple’s punishment was insufficient and that no matter how much rehabilitation Smith had, he should never be freed.
Ms. Anderson added that she does not care how long the so-called rehabilitation takes; his papers should have been stamped never to be released. There is no parole for child murders.They should never be freed because he took a life and deserves to suffer in hell.
Several residents have praised Ms. Anderson’s demonstrations for Kiesha’s justice, dubbing her a “champion” and “voice for Kiesha.”
But the choice to possibly grant Smith parole has sparked outrage among residents, with some feeling he has served his sentence and others believing he should never be released.
Tash Taylor, who lives on the block where Smith would live with his mom if he is given parole, said that the community should stop directing their rage at his mother.
The courts are way too mild, she claimed, adding that it was not his mother’s responsibility. It’s awful that she’s in the center of this for something she didn’t do.
Smith and Abrahams were apprehended in 2011 near Shalvey, a short distance from where the small girl’s corpse was discovered in thick wilderness.
On what would have been Keisha’s seventh birthday, April 11, they went to see where she was buried.
Yet they had no idea that cops were waiting in Freya Crescent, Shalvey, for them to depart the park and arrest them.
Neighbors on Freya Crescent said they remember that night vividly and can’t believe it’s been a decade.
According to one guy who has lived on the street for two decades, the neighborhood has long been a police hotspot, with late-night arrests being reasonably common.
The local, who requested anonymity, recalled that night as officers lined the streets waiting for the pair to escape the park.
The guy, on the other hand, said that he was relieved Smith would be freed because he deserves a second chance.
Despite this, a lady a few homes up the street says Smith should have been sentenced for the years he stole from that young child.
Although the community is divided on whether Smith should be freed, the State Parole Authority (SPA) has said that they plan to issue parole.
Smith’s non-parole time having now been completed, the SPA was forced to consider his release.
The SPA is required to begin determining whether an offender is eligible for release 60 days before the date of eligibility and to issue a final parole decision no later than three weeks before the convict’s eligible release date.
When the five members of the SPA convened to consider Smith’s prospective release, they agreed that he would be released on parole.
The case will now be heard in open court on April 4 for a public review hearing.
Before a final judgement is made, victims and the state will be given the opportunity to speak.
According to the SPA, a final parole decision will not be made until the authority examines all the evidence before it, including any representations made during the review hearing.
Smith might be freed from prison as soon as April 24 if parole is officially granted.
Kiesha became a well-known face when Abrahams and Smith reported her missing in August 2010.
Abrahams first said that she had put Kiesha to bed in their Hebersham house at 9.30 p.m. but had vanished by the next morning.
She then contacted police to report her daughter missing, prompting a massive search in Sydney’s western suburbs that drew widespread attention.
At the moment, Abrahams and Smith made passionate appeals to the cops, but they were not persuaded, and a protracted murder inquiry ensued.
In 2011, police arrested Abrahams and Smith eight months after Kiesha was reported missing.
Abrahams was charged with murder when human remains were found in Mount Druitt Forest on Kiesha’s seventh birthday.
Smith kept Kiesha’s corpse in a suitcase inside a closet for five days before transporting it to the wilderness near their house in Shalvey.
He then doused her with gasoline and set her corpse on fire before burying the charred remains.
During his sentencing in 2013, Abrahams was sentenced to 22 years in prison, while Smith was sentenced to a minimum of 12 years and a maximum of 16 years.