Upper House MP James Hayward’s political career ended on Monday, after he was found guilty of sexually abusing a young girl. It took the jury more than four hours to unanimously find the 53-year-old forced the child to touch him on two separate occasions between January 2019 and November 2021 when she was aged between six and seven years old. However, they found him not guilty of a third indecent dealing offence. They also acquitted him of claims he showed her how to search for pornography. At trial, the independent parliamentarian who sits in the Upper House, claimed the accusations were an “absolute lie” adding there was “no truth” in them despite writing a suicide note to his wife in which he admitted to offending against the girl. The trial was told hours before his arrest on December 1, 2021, Hayward had sent his wife Lee an email in which he said he felt he had “no other choice” but to take his own life because he was expecting to be charged with the offences over the “coming days” adding “which I have done” and a sad face emoji. “I know you repeatedly warned me and it is so disappointing this has happened,” he wrote. “Given my position in Parliament and the public scrutiny that would come with a trial… it seems tidier to take another way out. “I am so sorry I have let you down. “I hope you both can forgive me.” In his evidence, Hayward said he was in the midst of his second suicide attempt when he added those words after spending a week in a deep depression because he was under immense financial pressure from the collapse of his media production company and that he knew how such an allegation would affect his political career. “The thing is whether you are found guilty or not guilty, it makes absolutely no difference” he said on the stand. “People are treated same way… “I knew – with my background in media - what an allegation of child sex assault for a high profile person particularly a member of parliament… everything I feared came true.” He also said he wrote those words because he wanted to prevent his wife from blaming the girl for his death and spare his family and the alleged victim from a “painful and prolonged criminal process”. “I just thought it was a good idea at the time,” he said. “I genuinely thought it wold help my family. “I was scrambled.” Mr Hayward, who was elected in March 2021 as a Nationals MP, moved to the crossbench after he was charged at the end of 2021. The conviction disqualifies Mr Hayward from continuing to sit in Parliament, with a State Government spokesperson confirming the court would provide advice to the Clerk of the Legislative Council. Following that advice, Mr Hayward’s South West seat would be declared vacant and the WA Electoral Commission would conduct a vote countback. In that scenario, it is expected Louise Kingston, who was next on the Nationals ballot, would be elected. Claims against Hayward first emerged in November 2021 when the girl was caught by her older sister watching a sexualised version of Family Guy on her iPad. The trial was told the former TV producer used to read stories to her when he put her to bed and would sometimes get under the covers. Her sister testified that when she asked the girl who showed her how to look for pornography she said it was Hayward. She then asked her if he did anything else. In her evidence, the girl said it was during a bedtime ritual that Hayward put her “hand into his knickers” claiming the first alleged incident took place in the “weights room” at his house when she was around six or seven years old. She also said it happened again at her own house. However, she could not give exact times or locations. She also claimed Hayward showed her how to search for “sex” by typing it into the search browser of her iPad and then giving the device to her before walking out of the room. But she denied she ever searched for porn herself despite being told police discovered she had visited 140 web pages in the two months before she made a complaint to police. The trial was also told the girl’s parents did not control her iPad usage, allowing her to browse without parental locks. Hayward was remanded into custody. He will be sentenced on October 16.