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DOCS report reveals toddler Tanilla Warrick-Deaves was in 'grave danger' a month before she died

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Lukes Dad's picture
on Sun, 03/11/2012 - 12:14
Fight Child Protection Department Corruption: 
Justice for Tanilla Deaves Murdered by her mother and her mother's boyfriend

Uncle of dead toddler Tanilla Warwick-Deaves had warned DOCS NSW that Tanilla's life was in danger.

Tanilla Warrick-Deaves taken from us 27th of August 2011
Mothers boyfriend charged with her murder 27th of September 2011
Mother Charged with accessory to the fact of murder 18th October 2011
Mother Charged with additional charge of Manslaughter 14 December 2011
Mother Charged with Tanilla's Murder 5th July 2012

Tanilla was layed to rest 13th of September

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Tanilla's Sad Story in the News.....

JUST days ago Tanilla Warwick-Deaves was a smiling little girl who loved pushing toy prams and dressing up as a princess.

Today an autopsy is expected to be carried out in Newcastle as police try to piece together how the two-year-old died from unknown injuries.

Police were called to the little girl's home at Watanobbi on the NSW Central Coast at about 4am on Saturday where they found her with "a number of injuries". She was rushed to Wyong Hospital but died a short time later.

Police interviewed her mother Donna Deaves, 27, and her mother's partner, Warren Ross, 28. The couple have not been charged.

Fairfax websites report that Tanilla's uncle had warned the Department of Community Services over fears for the girl's safety.

Nathan Deaves said that he was told to "mind my business".

"I had a case worker ring me and tell me to mind my business about this situation," he told Channel Nine. "A child's dead and, at the end of the day, that should never have happened."

He said in another interview: "How could it fall through the system and end up with something like this happening? We will live with this for the rest of our lives."

The tragedy has shocked nearby residents with a few yesterday leaving teddy bears and flowers outside the family's Stonehaven Ave home.

"I used to see them playing outside all the time," one neighbour said. "They looked like nice happy kids."

Police yesterday continued searching the housing commission home for any clue that could help determine how Tanilla was injured.

A pile of bric-a-brac Tanilla's family left out for a council collection was examined.

Mr Deaves told The Daily Telegraph that Tanilla "was always happy and smiling. She loved her sisters and loved to dress up in princess outfits. She called me 'uncle Na Na', that was her nickname for me."

Mr Deaves, who lives with his wife and young son across the road from his sister, said their entire family were devastated.

His pentecostal church, C3 Tuggerah, yesterday prayed for the youngster and held a short tribute for her during its morning service.

Mr Ross' grandmother said Mr Ross loved Tanilla and her two older sisters "like they were his own".

"I don't know what's happened," she said.

"Maybe she climbed up on something and fell and hit her head on the way down, who knows?"

DOCS report reveals toddler Tanilla Warrick-Deaves was in 'grave danger' a month before she died

A REPORT compiled by the Department of Community Services has revealed the young girl who died under suspicious circumstances on the Central Coast on Saturday was in "grave danger" a month before she died.

The report, tabled by an unnamed DoCS worker on July 26, revealed two-year-old Tanilla Warrick-Deaves and her two young siblings were subjected to a "very high risk'' of abuse and neglect.

The children were observed but not interviewed by the caseworker.

Neighbours have also claimed they have heard the children screaming "Don't hit us anymore" and have complained directly to DoCS about being abused, according to 2GB broadcaster Ray Hadley this morning.

The neighbours also claimed to witness the parents using drugs in front of the children.

According to the report, the family has been reported to DoCS 30 times since 2004, following the birth of Tanilla's older sibling.

With thanks to



Lukes Dad's picture

Donna Deaves from the Central Coast accused of killing her two-year-old daughter, Tanilla Warrick-Deaves,  has had her charge upgraded to murder.

Deaves, 27, was previously charged with being an accessory after the fact to the murder of toddler Tanilla Warrick-Deaves last year.

In December that charge was changed to manslaughter.

Following further inquires, Deaves had her charge upgraded to murder on Thursday, a police spokesman told AAP.

Tanilla was found with a number of injuries at a house in Stonehaven Avenue in Watanobbi on August 27.

She was taken to Wyong Hospital where she died a short time later.


Her mother’s boyfriend Warren Ross, 28, was arrested on September 28 while camping in the Ourimbah State Forest on the Central Coast and was charged with murdering Tanilla.

He has also been accused of intimidating witnesses in the case.

Deaves is to appear in Wyong Local Court on August 15.

Lukes Dad's picture

The last words Donna Deaves heard her two-year-old daughter scream were "no no no".

Tanilla Warrick-Deaves died in Wyong hospital two days later, on August 27, 2011, after paramedics found her injured at her Watanobbi home, on the NSW Central Coast.

In the NSW Supreme Court on Tuesday Deaves, 29, pleaded not guilty to the toddler's murder, but guilty to manslaughter on the basis of criminal negligence by failing to get medical assistance for the girl.

According to an agreed statement of facts tendered to the court, Deaves left Tanilla lying injured and unconscious for nearly two nights after her boyfriend, who Fairfax Media has chosen not to name, allegedly assaulted the girl in the shower.

The man is awaiting trial for Tanilla's murder.

The man, who allegedly punished the toddler by hitting her with cords, straps and a wooden spoon and made her run constant laps of the lounge room, grew angry at the toddler when she wet herself on August 25, the document said.

He took her to the bathroom and put her in the shower, when Deaves said she heard what sounded like the child's head hitting the glass screen.

"[Deaves] heard the deceased screaming 'no, no, no'," the statement said.

"When [Deaves] arrived, [the man] was holding the deceased by her wet hair. [He] banged the deceased's head into the shower wall and [Deaves] noticed that the deceased's mouth was bloody."

The document said when Deaves told the man to stop, he slapped her across the face with the back of his hand, before allegedly banging the girl's head on the shower screen.

"[The man] took the deceased to the toilet and held her head above the bowl. The deceased was naked, wet and shivering. [The man] held the deceased by one leg upside down and was yelling and screaming," the statement said.

"He threatened to put the deceased's head in the toilet and the deceased was screaming. [Deaves] was present throughout this period."

According to the statement, when Deaves said she would call an ambulance, her boyfriend told her he would kill her, trash her house and blame her for the toddler's injuries.

Tanilla was then put into a double stroller, which was parked in Deaves' bedroom, where the girl stayed overnight and the next day, without regaining consciousness, the statement said.

After watching a movie the following night, Deaves woke up and noticed Tanilla was not breathing and had vomited. She called triple-0 about 4am.

Deaves did not tell police what happened to Tanilla for a month after her death, despite officers giving her opportunities, the document said.

In September, Deaves gave a comprehensive version of events and told police: "She's better off dead then (sic) to have sustained injuries and lived like that so in the long run, I'd come to the conclusion that she wasn't wakin' up so I sat with her that other night and at that stage, I didn't know what to do and I obviously thought I was going to be blamed."

Doctors found the cause of Tanilla's death was blunt force head trauma, which caused a subdural haemorrhage.

A pathologist found "there was clear and unequivocal medical evidence that the deceased was subjected to sustained physical violence of a non-accidental type over a period of possibly several weeks before her death".

The pathologist said Tanilla may have survived if she had been treated promptly.

Outside court, Tanilla's stepmother, Brooke Bowen, said her family had made repeated calls to the Department of Community Services (DoCS) concerning her welfare.

"It wasn't just the last two weeks of her life she was being reported. She had 33 reports on her and she was only two-and-a-half. Alarm bells, hello?

"They let Tanilla down. A lot of people let Tanilla down.

"Let's just hope after this is all over something can change in the system. It's not going to bring Tanilla back, it's not going to bring any other children back, but let's hope this is an example to get them up on their toes."

In a statement from the department, now known as the Department of Family and Community Services, a spokesman said staff were "deeply saddened by the tragic case of this little girl".

But there would be no further comment until Deaves' court case, and related cases, were finalised, the spokesman said.

Deaves will face a sentencing hearing in September.

Stephanie Gardiner

bluejay's picture


AS NSW families and communities services minister, Pru Goward hears more about child abuse than most people. She says the day she is no longer moved to tears by her challenging workload is the day she'll find a different job. Ms Goward says she knows the public is horrified to read reports of "vile, wicked" abuse of children. "I read them in a lot more graphic detail than most people, and the day that they cease to bring tears to my eyes is the day I'll know I need to move on," she told AAP. The minister's comments come with departmental figures revealing just over a quarter of children and young people reported as being at risk are being interviewed by a caseworker and given safety checks. The union representing community service workers, the Public Service Association (PSA), says the system is in "crisis" and the state opposition has accused Ms Goward of lying about the caseworker situation.  "Ms Goward has been claiming for years that there is no caseworker shortage despite reports from caseworkers on the ground across the state that they are overworked and unable to properly investigate all reports of children at risk," Labor's community services spokeswoman Linda Burney said. But Ms Goward said the proportion of vulnerable children being checked on face-to-face by caseworkers had risen from 21 per cent to 27 per cent in the two years since her government took office in NSW. However she admitted this could be better. She also said there was never a hiring freeze at the Department of Community Services, only a "slight pause in recruitment" when the government transferred its Brighter Futures program from community services to the private sector. The row comes amid a series of high-profile court cases involving murdered or neglected children who were known to community services. They include two-year-old Tanilla Warrick-Deaves, who died after suffering horrific abuse and whose mother pleaded guilty to her manslaughter this week, and six-year-old Kiesha Weippeart, murdered by her mother Kristi Anne Abrahams. Ms Goward said a jump in caseworkers did not always translate to more face-to-face visits, and those visits did not always result in the best decisions. The focus must remain on helping frontline workers make better choices, she said. "In a lot of these (cases), the system made the wrong decision," she said

By Sophie Tarr

Notwithoutafight's picture

How about, instead of spending months and money on false allegations, you actually spend that time and money on real cases that have been reported......33 times. Seems pretty simple to me. And sack the incompetent corrupt DoCS workers,on their first  "suspicion" of corruption. Treat your workers the way you treat the ones who pay your wages. Your welcome.

rufusnelson's picture

Congratulations Pru for your increase from 21% to 27% face to face contact with case workers.  What are your thoughts on the other 63% of children that aren't investigated? You want to help your front line workers... how about some sort of screening test to identify genuine cases.  Have your caseworkers focus on the intial report and not make up other insignificant concerns during interviews to keep cases open.  Focus your time on the real cases and stop the bullying of innocent families.  You want to improve the system??? Listen to the concerns of falsely accused people, because its them that can find the holes in your system more efficiantly than your own department. Please contact me if you need any help. More than happy to assist.

bluejay's picture

To date, there are seven people working for DoCS/FACS (only that I am aware of, maybe more) that know of disturbing things about a certain child. The response when spoken to by the FACS  department? If you have any more things that concern you, there is a number you can call to report this. Are you kidding? Seven of you already know, why do I have to report it again?

roses-are-blue1's picture

A two-year-old Central Coast girl was allegedly murdered by her mother's boyfriend following weeks of violent assaults with an extension cord, a strap and a rod as part of a punishment regime supposedly carried out in order "toilet train her", a court has heard.

Warren Ross is accused of murdering Tanilla Warrick-Deaves on August 25 by inflicting a blunt force trauma on the little girl's head in the bathroom of the home they shared in the NSW Central Coast suburb of Watanobi.

The little girl was then allegedly placed in a pram by the girl's mother, Donna Deaves, and left for two days without any professional medical attention until she passed away.

In his opening address to the jury on Monday, Crown Prosecutor Erik Balodis said that a post-mortem examination of the girl's body found "tram track bruises across her back suggesting she had been hit with a rod, welts on her arms and legs suggesting a cord" and scarring on her hands.Mr Balodis said these injuries were among those inflicted on Tanilla by Mr Ross after he commenced a relationship with her mother, Donna Deaves, in June 2011.

"The accused had been trying to toilet train Tanilla in the four weeks leading up to her death," Mr Balodis said.

"He became frustrated that she would not learn and expressed that frustration in a number of ways."

"He also believed that Tanilla was deliberately defying him despite Ms Deaves comment that she was only two years old. He was determined to complete the toilet training."

The jury heard that Ross would regularly force the two-year-old to run laps of the family's living room, and on other occasions resorted directly to violence including hitting and kicking her.

Mr Ross allegedly told an acquaintance who visited the family's home "I hit her with an extension cord, a strap, with a wooden spoon ... but she just doesn't learn."

Mr Balodis said that on Thursday, August 25, Ross again became incensed with Tanilla after she failed to carry out her job of putting the family's chickens back in their cage.

He again forced the two-year-old to run laps and then began hitting and kicking her.

"The accused stopped for 10 minutes ... then he picked up a cord and hit her numerous times on the back of the legs," he said.

"He allegedly said 'I'll stay up all night if she's going to do this'."

Ross then allegedly took Tanilla into the bathroom and held her under a cold shower.

"Ms Deaves will give evidence that she heard a load thud on more than one occasion from the bathroom," the Crown prosecutor said.

Allegedly ignoring his girlfriend's pleas to stop, Mr Ross allegedly dangled Tanilla above the toilet bowl by one leg and screamed: "This is the toilet, you're f---n filthy ... and you don't have any respect!"

The little girl allegedly began to fall asleep, despite Mr Ross's attempt to keep her awake by shaking her.

He then allegedly dragged her along the floor, banging her head against a wooden door.

When the alleged attack finally stopped, Donna Deaves put the obviously injured little girl into a double stroller in the couple's bedroom.

The pair allegedly discussed calling an ambulance, but Mr Ross allegedly told the woman "she'll be alright" and then accused her off trying to "drop me in the s---".

Two days later, at around 4am, Ms Deaves allegedly called an ambulance. Mr Ross allegedly took the phone and told the operator that the little girl had fallen from a cupboard onto a wooden bed frame and hurt her head.

The ambulance arrived soon after, but could not revive the two-year-old who died in Wyong Hospital soon after.

Mr Ross has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

His barrister, Sarah McNaighten, SC, asked the jury to remember that Ms Deaves had pleaded guilty to an offence over the crime and had received a reduction in her sentence as a consequence of giving evidence against her former boyfriend.

The trial, before Justice Stephen Rothman, continues.