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‘The first time I’ve had a decent night’s sleep in years’: Mother of victim relieved by child killer’s death

The mother of the little girl raped and murdered by Neville Towner says she’s slept soundly for the first time in years, following his death on Wednesday.

In 1989, Towner coerced four-year-old Lauren Hickson down to the river near her home in Sydney’s west.

There, he raped her, attempted to drown her and bashed her to death with a rock.

Towner was sentenced to life behind bars but had his sentence reduced after changes to ‘truth in sentencing’ laws were introduced.

The 52-year-old child rapist, who repeatedly applied for parole, died just days before a hearing which could have seen him released.

Ray Hadley has been following the case closely, speaking with Lauren’s distraught mother Jurina Hickson on several occasions.

Jurina tells Ray a weight has now been lifted off her shoulders and she’s had her first “decent night’s sleep” since her little girl was murdered.

“When I found out I let out one almighty, ‘good riddance to bad rubbish’. I couldn’t believe it.

“I was just over the moon.”

Jurina has vowed to continue fighting for victims of crime, saying she’ll now lobby the Premier to keep similar criminals locked up.

“I think it’s a disgrace that families have to fight because their child has been brutally murdered and raped.

“I think, myself, that things have to change.”

Click PLAY below to hear from Lauren’s mother Jurina Hickson

Retired homicide detective Steve Ticehurst was one of the officers called to the scene nearly three decades ago.

Mr Ticehurst tells Ray all Australian families can breathe a sigh of relief that this “evil” man won’t be able to walk our streets again.

“He was a very, very evil man who committed one of the worst offences that anyone could ever commit and stole the innocence of that poor little girl who trusted him.

“I just think it’s great that he will not walk the streets, Ray.”

Click PLAY below to hear from former detective Steve Ticehurst