Annaliesse Ugle, 11, took her own life just weeks after her accused rapist, 66, was freed on bail
The devastated family of an 11-year-old girl who took her own life after her accused rapist was granted bail have gathered to mourn the youngster’s death – and called for new laws stopping alleged sex offenders from roaming the streets.
Annaliesse Ugle – a Noongar First Nations Year 6 student – had her life support machine switched off on Tuesday at Perth Children’s Hospital after being flown there with self-inflicted injuries the day before from her rural community south of Perth.
The Indigenous girl’s alleged abuser, 66, is facing almost a dozen charges including sexual penetration of a child under 13 and indecent dealing.
At a vigil for the young girl held on the steps of Western Australia’s Parliament House on Thursday evening, more than 100 mourners gathered to pay their respects and call for ‘Annaliesse’s Law’ – legislation that would keep anyone charged with a child sex crime behind bars while their case goes to trial.
A photograph of Annaliesse – labelled with the words ‘forever young’ – rested at the top of the parliament steps surrounded by dozens of candles as family members wept and released pink balloons to remember the 11-year-old during an emotionally-charged gathering.
Family members wore shirts reading ‘Justice for Annaliesse’ as the vigil began with mourners shouting that phrase as they marched in front of the government building.
The Ugle family had earlier given permission to picture and name their little girl in the hope bail laws may be changed if the country can see her face.
The youngster’s devastated family on Thursday evening gathered on the steps of Western Australia’s Parliament House to remember Annaliesse and call for bail laws to be changed so other accused child sex offenders are not allowed to roam free
Annaliesse’s mother Samantha Wilson is consoled as more than 100 mourners gathered outside the parliament building to rally for change
The little girl’s loved ones wept as they remembered a young girl described as a ‘ray of sunshine’ to all those who met her
A photograph of Annaliesse – labelled with the words ‘forever young’ – rested at the top of the parliament steps surrounded by dozens of candles
Those gathered on Thursday evening released pink balloons to remember Annaliesse as they campaigned for changes to the WA law books
The crowd of more than 100 pictured on Thursday evening. The Ugle family had earlier bravely given permission to picture and name their little girl
‘I want the Parliament to put legislative laws through in Annaliesse’s name to protect other young children on her behalf like she should’ve been protected,’ her mother Samantha Wilson said, according to The West Australian.
‘We just want Annaliesse’s law to be passed so that other children who are in her situation are protected. Because my little girl, she was scared.’
Annaliesse’s aunt Natasha Ugle on Wednesday told Daily Mail Australia her niece was ‘a ray of sunshine’ who was loved by everyone she met.
Premier Mark McGowan addressed the girl’s death on Thursday, saying her suicide was ‘beyond description.’
‘I have an 11-year-old daughter – it’s beyond understanding,’ he said.
‘Clearly, an error was made. The police have acknowledged that. I am very sorry for everyone involved that this whole set of events has occurred.
‘There’ll be a full coronial inquiry into these matters and the child abuse squad is obviously continuing to investigate the matters. It is just a human tragedy.’
Annaliesse’s loved ones mourn her death on Thursday. The 11-year-old had her life support machine switched off on Tuesday at Perth Children’s Hospital
Mourners had shouted ‘Justice for Annaliesse’ as they marched in front of the government building at the start of the vigil
‘I want the Parliament to put legislative laws through in Annaliesse’s name to protect other young children on her behalf like she should’ve been protected,’ her mother Samantha Wilson (left and right) said
Annaliesse – who was allegedly abused between 2014 and 2020 – was described on Wednesday by her mother as a ‘bubbly’ young girl who desperately wanted to get away from her regional community.
‘She didn’t want to live in that town – she didn’t want to be there,’ the mother told WA Today.
The heartbroken mother said her daughter was one of five siblings and a clever and happy girl who loved watching TikTok.
‘They let my baby down, the police, the courts… she had a lovely personality, was bubbly and outgoing,’ she said.
Family members comforted each other as they looked over a small shrine left for young Annaliesse – which featured an Aboriginal flag draped over the parliament’s steps
Annaliesse’s mother mourns her daughter’s death. The young girl from regional Western Australia was one of five siblings
Annaliesse is pictured right, with her mother centre and sister left. Her mum said she was a ‘bubbly’ child who desperately wanted to get away from her regional community after her alleged abuser was released on bail
Relatives said Annaliesse (left and right) was a ‘ray of sunshine’ to all those who knew her
Annaliesse’s mother (pictured) said her daughter ‘didn’t want to live in that town – she didn’t want to be there’
Annaliesse’s mother said the youngster (left) was a clever and happy girl who loved the viral video app TikTok
Natasha Ugle, another of the 11-year-old’s aunts, said the youngster – who lived with her for three months earlier this year – was a ‘ray of sunshine’ to all those who knew her.
‘She wasn’t shy at all. She was a beautiful little soul and everyone she met loved her,’ she said.
WA Police said on Wednesday officers were wrong to give the alleged rapist his freedom.
‘I’m here today to say that WA Police take ownership of any issues where we can prevent something like this from occurring again,’ Assistant Commissioner of Regional WA Jo McCabe said.
One of Annaliesse’s (pictured) aunts Corina Abraham, 43, is holding a protest on Thursday at WA’s Parliament House to demonstrate against the decision to grant the accused bail
‘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.’
Asst Comm McCabe added the accused may have also allegedly breached his bail before Annaliesse’s death.
Annaliesse’s suicide has sparked debate among the state’s MPs, with WA Liberals arguing anyone charged with a child sex offence should be refused bail.
Annaliesse’s suicide has sparked debate among the state’s MPs about releasing accused child sex offenders on bail
But one of Perth’s most accomplished barristers said it wasn’t ethical nor was there enough jail capacity to put everyone accused of sex offences against a child behind bars before trial.
‘For this type of crime there would be hundreds of people on bail right now in the state,’ Tom Percy QC told Daily Mail Australia.
The accused had his bail renewed at a recent hearing and will face Perth Magistrate’s Court later this year.
Mr Percy said there should always be a presumption of innocence until proven guilty and added the granting of bail was also based on the strength of the case against the defendant.
High-profile barrister Tom Percy QC (pictured) said despite calls for everyone charged with a child sex crime to be refused bail, it was not practical or ethical
‘There is a presumption of innocence in our community,’ he said. ‘In COVID times we’re talking two or three years in jail before a trial is finished with just one shred of evidence against you.
‘Usually in child sex abuse cases there is a serious prospect of someone getting bail if there isn’t forensic evidence.
‘This is a tragic case but I don’t think it requires a wholesale revision of the state law books.’
The lawyer added it was not uncommon for either the complainant or the accused in cases of alleged sexual assault to take their own life before a trial is concluded.
National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project director, Gerry Georgatos, said the decision to grant the alleged predator bail was a mistake.
He said remand laws for those charged with child sex crimes need to be tightened.
‘The police, too, need to do much more to assist particularly vulnerable impoverished families,’ he said.
Annaliesse died from her self-inflicted injuries after being airlifted to Perth’s Children’s Hospital (pictured)
About 100 of Annaliesse’s family members and loved ones arrived at the hospital where she died to pay their respects on Tuesday.
Many of them slept in their cars overnight before saying their final farewell.
A Western Australian Police spokesman said the family members who have arrived at the hospital are being given access to support and counselling.
If you or someone you know is in need of mental health support, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.