WARNING: Graphic and disturbing detail
The father convicted of killing his seven-year-old daughter, whose "mummified" body was found lying in her own faeces with bull ants crawling out of her mouth, has lost his bid to walk free from jail.
News.com.au exclusively revealed in August that the father in the nation's most appalling child starvation case of a girl who can only be identified as "Ebony" applied for parole after serving just 12 years in prison.
The father was known as aggressive and threatening to agencies and professionals who tried to intervene before he and the child's mother killed Ebony, who died weighing just 9kg.
Known as SW and BW, both parents have been incarcerated since their arrest in 2007 at Port Kembla, two weeks after Ebony was found dead in shocking circumstances, 400km away at their Hawks Nest home on the NSW mid-north coast.
Ebony's mother was convicted of murder and the father was convicted of manslaughter after he argued in court she was solely responsible for Ebony's welfare.
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BW applied for parole at the earliest possible date, but a private hearing of the NSW State Parole Authority in September refused the 58-year-old's application.
The independent review body that case manages the state's worst criminals, the Serious Offenders Review Council, deemed BW's release on parole would be inappropriate.
This is despite the trial judge saying in 2009 that BW was "unlikely to reoffend" and sentencing him to a maximum of just 16 years.
Ebony's mother, SW, argued BW was violent, controlling and completely dominated her, and both were heavy prescription drug addicts
SW was originally given a life sentence, which was quashed by the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal and reduced to a maximum 40 years.
Following his sentence in 2009, BW applied to have his maximum 16-year sentence for manslaughter reduced but was rejected.
At their joint 2009 trial, SW described her then-husband as physically abusive and intimidating, but she was not entirely believed.
SW said she could not leave the house without BW's permission, he beat her and threw her across the room, and he forced her into sadomasochistic sex with paying clients.
BW's case at trial was that he was not guilty of anything, SW had made him tell lies, and he had been so under the influence of valium — at the time he was popping 25 pills a day — he hadn't noticed Ebony starving to death.
Suffering from autism, Ebony was known — before being starved into submission — to smash things and compulsively touch objects while running round a room babbling.
Eight weeks before Ebony died, SW and BW moved from their Sydney home to a house at Hawks Nest on the NSW Central Coast where Ebony was imprisoned in a putrid bedroom, which "doubled as her toilet", the judge found.
Ebony died on November 3, 2007 in her room where she lived behind a door tied with rope to prevent her coming out. She had no toys or personal items.
The forensic pathologist attending BW and SW's house on the day in question found "a little child dead … in an extreme degree of emaciation … wasted and dehydrated … looked almost like a mummy".
Dr Kasinathan Nadesan described Ebony's clothing and bedding as heavily stained, possibly from a combination of vomit, faeces and other bodily fluids.
Ebony's body was a "skin-covered skeleton" when she died aged seven years and seven months, lying in a squalid room with a strong stench of urine and faeces.
The child was filthy and so wasted from malnourishment that she could not have sat up, stood or even held up the weight of her own head for weeks before her final death.
At their joint trial, the father blamed everything on the mother, SW, saying he had no part in Ebony's care.