Father's agony at killer's guilt

THERE was little relief for Robert Callow yesterday when his daughter’s killer admitted his guilt.

He sat in agony in court as he listened to the details of his only daughter’s murder.

Mr Callow and partner Kathy Cummings sat at the back of the Toowoomba Supreme Court yesterday as Bowan Taylor Wade pleaded guilty to the murder of Klarissa “Sal” Callow.

She was just 17 when she was assaulted and suffocated inside a storage shed at Stanthorpe on August 9, 2009.

“There is no relief for me. I haven’t got my daughter,” Mr Callow told The Chronicle.

“At least Wade was man enough to stand up and say ‘I’m guilty’, but it doesn’t bring her back.”

Mr Callow’s marriage to Sal’s mother had broken down, but he remained close to his daughter who came to live with him and his new partner from the age of 12.

Though she had moved briefly to Stanthorpe in 2009 with the boyfriend who would ultimately end her life, Sal was due to return to her father’s home in Bundaberg in time for her 18th birthday just two months away.

In her short life, Sal had survived years of physical and psychological torment, her father explained.

Not only was she born with incurable and debilitating cystic fibrosis, but also for many years Sal had lived with the dark secret of having been sexually abused by a man well known to her family.

At the time of her death, court proceedings against the man she accused of sexually molesting her were well advanced and expected to go to trial.

“Sal came to me as a damaged little girl who had experienced horrible things that little girls should never have to experience,” Mr Callow said.

“What monster could do this, especially to my daughter who had been fighting to stay alive since birth?

“Despite all this, within her troubled mind, Sal was my loving daughter with a beautiful smile, full of affection, intelligent and popular, having countless friends.”

Mr Callow despairs that with his daughter’s death, her alleged abuser will walk free and never have to face trial.

“She went through so much torment while waiting for that day (court trial) to arrive when we believed justice would be done and the accused sentenced,” he said.

Each morning, Mr Callow wakes to a photograph of his cherished “Salsie” which he keeps beside his bed.

“I wanted nothing more than time to love her and the opportunity to see that what time she was given here was as happy as it could have been, but I have been denied this and much more,” he said.

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