Secret police recordings captured the moment William Tyrrell’s foster mother smacked a young child who is not William with a wooden spoon amid a stream of tears.
The missing boy’s foster parents are facing a hearing before the Parramatta Local Court where they are defending a string of charges which arose after detectives placed listening devices in their home and car.
As part of Strike Force Rosann which, was set up to investigate William’s disappearance, detectives began monitoring the couple in November 2020, crown prosecutor John Marsh told the court on Tuesday.
William Tyrrell’s foster mother, 58, has pleaded guilty to assaulting a young child – who is not William and who cannot be identified.
However, she also pleaded not guilty to two counts of intimidation against the young child, which are alleged to have occurred in January and July 2021.
William’s foster father, 56, has also pleaded not guilty to one count of common assault and one count of intimidation.
On Tuesday, the court was played recordings from the couple’s car and home and from phone intercepts, which police say captured several incidents of alleged assaults and intimidation.
During one recording, the young child can be heard for several minutes crying and pleading “I need some help” and saying that she needs more time in reference to a household chore.
“Stand up, stand up,” the foster mother can be heard saying.
“Move your hands,” she says.
A smacking sound can be heard after the woman hits the child with a wooden spoon.
The incident relates to one of the counts of common assault to which the woman has pleaded guilty.
As the recording was played to the court, the foster mother dabbed tears from her eyes and was comforted by the foster father.
On another tape, the couple were then heard discussing the incident during an intercepted phone call.
The foster mother and foster father sat next to each other at the front of the court, taking notes.
During one tape, the foster father can be heard in his car having an argument with the child over not closing the front door.
“F**king stupid little sh*t”,” he says to the child before she gets in the car.
The child can be heard crying as he calls them “so rude”.
“We’ve done nothing to you,” the man says to her.
“We feed you, we house you and you treat us like sh*t.”
The following day he is heard on tape promising not to harm the child and says he would “never touch you”.
“What you do consumes everyone and then everyone goes to work in a bad mood and has a bad day,” the foster father said.
“I don’t want to do this anymore.”
He adds: “I can’t remember the last time I was happy and I was enjoying things.”
In discussing the incidents with the child, the foster mother reassures the child that their foster father would not hurt them and attempts to dissuade the child from talking about it with a school friend.
On another tape, the foster mother can be heard arguing with the young child over some lost clothes.
During the argument, the woman says: “I am stronger than you, I will outlast you.”
“Why don’t you know where your clothes are?” the woman says.
“I don’t know,” the child replies.
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.
The case has become one of the state’s most notable cold cases and after hearings before a coroner and nine years, the mystery remains unsolved.
No one has been charged over William’s disappearance and suspected death, and his foster parents have continued to deny any wrongdoing.
The hearing before magistrate Susan McIntyre continues on Wednesday.