A child told a support worker that William Tyrrell’s foster father put his hands around her neck in an incident which left her “so scared”, a court has heard.
The missing toddler’s mother and father are facing a hearing in the Parramatta Local Court where they are battling a string of allegations relating to a child, who is not William.
As part of the police probe into William’s disappearance, police placed a series of covert listening devices inside the couple’s car and home and discovered what they allege are incidents of assault and intimidation against the foster child.
Police met with the child in December 2021 and they were interviewed in the presence of a support person.
On Wednesday, the support person told the court that during a break in the interview, while police were out of the room, the young child disclosed another alleged incident.
“She turned to me and said ‘my dad put his hands around my neck, I was so scared’,” the woman told the court.
The woman said the child added that her father had “mental health issues” and “anger” problems.
In cross examination, barrister Phillip English suggested to the support worker that the child had in fact told her that the man had placed an “open palm” on her shoulder.
However, the support worker denied the suggestion.
The missing boy’s foster mother has pleaded guilty to two counts of assaulting the child - who cannot be identified - relating to incidents in which she smacked them with a wooden spoon and kicked them in the thigh.
However, the couple are fighting another series of charges.
The foster mother, 58, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of intimidation against the same young child while William’s foster father, 56, has pleaded not guilty to one count of common assault and one count of intimidation.
Over the first three days of the hearing, the court has been played dozens of recordings including one from October 21, 2021 which captured a loud bang before the child could be heard crying out in pain and saying “she kicked me”.
Later that day, the foster mother is heard having a conversation with the child saying “I need to apologise to you, I lost complete control … I’m sorry I did that.”
Michelle White, who was formerly a captain within the Salvation Army, said she met with the foster mother on one occasion when she became tearful and her “lips were quivering”.
The woman told Ms White she had done something for which she was “ashamed”.
The court heard that the foster mother told Ms White “I can’t believe it happened, but I lost it with (the child)”.
The foster mother told Ms White that she saw the child put her foot out and she was afraid she was going to trip another child.
The woman further told Ms White: “I just lost it with (the child) and I kicked (the child) on the leg,” the court was told.
William was only three years old when he vanished from his foster grandmother’s house at Kendall on the NSW Mid North Coast on September 12, 2014 in what has become one of the state’s most notable cold cases.
His body has never been found and no one has ever been charged over his disappearance and suspected death.
The court has heard that the couple continue to deny any knowledge of William’s whereabouts.
The hearing before magistrate Susan McIntyre continues.