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‘I have to speak up for her now’: 11-year-old who took own life ‘failed’ by laws that bailed alleged abuser

“My daughter thought that he was going to hurt her and she was frightened. She didn’t want to live in that town she didn’t want to be there,” Ms Westcott said.

“She was scared, I was scared, I wouldn’t even let my babies go outside and play without me standing outside.”

Ms Westcott described her daughter, one of five children, as loved and outgoing.

“She was bubbly, she loved TikTok, couldn’t get her off it,” she said.

“She was a really bright and happy little girl.”

She is speaking out through her grief to call for urgent change to WA’s bail laws which allowed her daughter’s accused rapist to walk free on the same day he was arrested.

“My daughter was scared of [an alleged] predator and she’s no longer here with me so I’ve got to speak for her,” she said.

“We need tougher bail laws … [and] I believe rural places need more services for young people.”

WA Police Assistant Commissioner of Regional WA, Jo McCabe, admitted on Wednesday police should not have released the accused man on bail.

“For someone so young to take their own life is unacceptable and tragic and many questions need to be answered,” she said.

“An early assessment of this case and the seriousness of the offences tells me that police bail should have been opposed and not considered in this instance.

“This will ultimately be a matter for the coroner, but I’m here today to say that WA Police will take ownership of any issues where we can improve to prevent something like this from occurring again.”

The man accused of abusing the girl is facing six counts of indecently dealing with a child under 13 and four counts of sexually penetrating a child under 13.

He was arrested and charged in mid-September. He was bailed by police that same day until his first court appearance.

That appearance at Narrogin Magistrates Court on September 21 lasted three minutes, with his bail renewed on the same terms.

An inquiry has been launched into the circumstances surrounding the tragedy.

National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project director Gerry ­Georgatos, who supported the family in hospital, said “so many failures” had occurred to culminate in the loss of an 11-year-old.

“I’ve never seen the likes of this before, [her loved ones] came from everywhere,” he said.

“The sea of grief, the outpouring and the number of people breaking down was overwhelming.

“Children, youth, elders – it was devastating, even the hospital staff and police in attendance were distressed.”

Mr ­Georgatos, along with his colleague Megan Krakouer and the girl’s family are now fighting for the law to be changed to deny accused repeat child sex abusers bail.

“When you’ve got an alleged offender who’s offended more than one time, then there should be no possibility of bail,” he said.

Annaliesse is one of the youngest in WA to die from suicide.

Mr Georgatos said children as young as six from impoverished families were attempting to take their own lives and more support needed to be provided.

“We need to invest in social services to improve the life circumstances of these people,” he said.

He has also called for the state government to do more to support families with young children who are homeless, demanding the most vulnerable be prioritised for housing.

Annaliesse’s alleged abuser remains on bail and is residing in Perth.

If you are experiencing mental health issues contact LifeLine WA on 13 11 14, the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467, or the Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800.

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