There have been a number of high profile abuse cases, but this is the one that I think I will never forget.
Other deaths of toddlers have been awful, but due to a mixture of neglect and violence. The Glassie case can only be seen as group sadistic torture.
I don’t want to politicise this awful case, but National had pledged to bring in a sentence of life without parole for the worst killers – they estimate it would be used only two or three times a year. This would be one of those cases – those responsible and found guilty of murder should never ever be let out. If you read the story, you will see that redemption and rehabilitation do not form part of this story.
Some extracts from the sad sad story:
What was done to Nia was callous and violent, perpetrated by a group of no-hopers who lived and partied together, who smoked pot together and who for one reason or another didn’t like the little girl they failed to protect.
Nia Maria Glassie was three. They thought she was ugly.
They kicked Nia in the head, and she points to the front of her head.
Sometimes Nia would bleed but they don’t care about it. They just keep on smashing her, she says.
They put her in the corner and they kick her to the wall and she gets bumps on her head.
The worst thing, in this child’s mind, was when Michael Curtis lifted Nia to the ceiling by her neck and her hips and when she touched the ceiling, he let her go.
Another child tells how they spun Nia on the clothesline as fast as they could. Her voice is soft and shy.
They put her into the drier, too, she says.
And the defendants:
The defendants don’t look appalled. Perhaps they’re bored. Though, sometimes in court they laughed and whispered and often they tried to stare down the reporters covering the trial.
The torture again:
The woman asks the second girl more about the clothes drier.
You turn it right up, replies the girl, and it gets hot then it dries your clothes.
Nia was screaming, she says, so they put her on the clothesline and they spinned her as fast as they could so she could fall off.
She did fall off, the little girl says. Three times. On her head.
They put Nia in the drier like “a ball”, the girl says.
They turned the switch, the one with lots of numbers on it, up too high and Nia kicked the door open but they just put her legs back in. …
And back to those responsible:
The abuse was normalised and it escalated. The brothers didn’t play sport or work, there was booze and pot, though no suggestion of P.
They didn’t have much money so were home a lot and found ways to entertain themselves. …
Lisa Kuka, it seems, grew from a nice little girl into a woman whose life revolves around men and who demonstrated a frightening submission to them.
She was the 17th of 19 children. …
I wish there were simple answers to these horrors. Sadly there are not.
UPDATE: Dave Crampton at Big News has a long post on the background to the Glassie household.