A MAN accused of killing his parents has this morning shed tears in court as his sister told of violent physical abuse they suffered at the hands of their father.
Ian David Thomas, 36, wiped his eyes but kept his gaze intently focused on his sister, Bernadette Cameron, as his committal hearing in Wangaratta Magistrates Court continued today.
Ms Cameron in turn held her head in her hands, her voice shaking as she agreed with statements that their father Bill Thomas often beat them with belts, sticks and even a bridle.
Mr Thomas, 64, and his wife Pauline, 63, were found dead in their Great Alpine Road, Wangaratta home on April 22 last year.
Ian Thomas, of Perth, was arrested and charged with their murder several days later in Meredith, in Victoria's south-west.
Ms Cameron this morning gave her evidence via videolink from Queensland.
Under cross-examination by defence barrister John Desmond, Ms Cameron said her and her siblings' childhood "wasn't nice".
Mr Thomas was described as a "disciplinarian who was very critical" and "quick to lose his temper".
He would use various objects to chastise his children, she said, including a belt nicknamed "Joey".
"Not only was he physically abusive, he was emotionally abusive to me, John (another brother) and Ian," her statement said.
Asked if she and her brother were angry or hostile about this upbringing, Ms Cameron disagreed.
Ms Cameron made three statements to police; she said she had not wanted to but felt compelled by police.
The hearing continues.