The man convicted of murdering Queensland schoolgirl Tiahleigh Palmer has told an inquest into her death that he may have accidentally suffocated her during an argument.
Foster father Rick Thorburn – who is serving a life sentence for killing 12-year-old Tiahleigh in 2015 – cried in the witness stand while speaking about what happened.
It had never been revealed before how the young girl, who has family from New Zealand, died.
The coronial inquest will focus on Tiahleigh's tragic last moments on the night she died, including what actions Thorburn took to kill his foster daughter and how he disposed of her body.
Reading from a statement, a tearful Thorburn revealed he got into an argument with Tiahleigh, who was being "stubborn", on the night of October 29, 2015.
He told the court she packed her bags and left down the driveway as he followed her.
Thorburn claimed she began screaming and swearing at him before he grabbed her around the waist and put his hand over her mouth.
"We got to the veranda … she didn't respond when I spoke to her," he said.
Thorburn said he realised he must have accidentally suffocated her but could not remember if he tried resuscitating her.
"It's something I struggle to live with," he said.
The 12-year-old's death shocked the nation after her body was discovered on the banks of the Pimpama River in November 2015.
The girl's body was so badly decomposed, a cause of death could not be established.
Rick Thorburn, her foster father, is serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to her murder in 2018.
During a pre-inquest hearing last month, Deputy State Coroner Jane Bentley was told Tiahleigh was last seen alive on October 29, 2015, attending a dance class.
She had complained of stomach pains through the class.
That same night, Rick Thorburn's youngest son, Trent, told his mother he'd had sex with the young girl a week before and was concerned she was pregnant.
Counsel assisting the inquest Kate McMahon said the foster parents feared Tiahleigh's stomach pains were consistent with pregnancy and that Trent could go to jail.
McMahon told the court Tiahleigh and Rick were alone in the house for two hours between 8pm and 10pm and the girl was murdered then.
He told the family when they returned: "She is no longer with us. I hope you know what that means. I have taken care of it."
Tiahleigh was not reported missing until October 30.
The inquest will run for two days in Brisbane.