Monthly archives: December 2018

Gerard Baden-Clay trial: Facial injuries ‘very typical’ of fingernail scratches

A razor belonging to Gerard Baden-Clay. Photo: Supplied Police photographs of marks on Gerard Baden-Clay’s face. Photo: Supplied

Allison and Gerard Baden-Clay, with their three children. Photo: Supplied

A forensic medical expert says injuries on the face of accused wife killer Gerard Baden-Clay were “very typical” of fingernail scratches.

Mr Baden-Clay has pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife Allison Baden-Clay on April 19, 2012.

The Supreme Court in Brisbane has heard police officers immediately noticed the “suspicious” scratches on Mr Baden-Clay’s face the morning he reported his wife missing on April 20, 2012.

Mr Baden-Clay repeatedly dismissed the marks as shaving cuts.Full coverage

First-response police officers called in plain clothes detectives from the Indooroopilly Criminal Investigation Branch soon after arriving at the real estate agent’s Brookfield home.

“I should clarify, I cut myself shaving this morning and everybody has said it looks suspicious,” Mr Baden-Clay explained to the plain clothes detectives.

“It does,” one detective replied.

“And that’s part of the reason I gather why you’re here,” Mr Baden-Clay said.

The court heard forensic physician Margaret Stark, from the Forensic Clinical Medicine Unit of the New South Wales police service, examined photographs of Mr Baden-Clay’s facial injuries.

Dr Stark said the injuries appeared to be more typical of fingernail scratches than cuts from a “blunt razor”.

“This is a very typical presentation of being scratched with fingernails,” she said.

“They are not typical of a razor-blade injury.”

Dr Stark noted her observations were not “diagnostic” because she had been unable to examine Mr Baden-Clay in person.

She said she also examined photographs of Mrs Baden-Clay’s fingernails and agreed the injuries to Mr Baden-Clay’s face could have been caused by his wife’s nails.

“It’s possible they could have been caused by those nails, yes,” she said.

Under cross-examination from Mr Baden-Clay’s defence counsel Michael Byrne QC, Dr Stark conceded her assessment was not consistent with “gold standard” forensic medicine as she was unable to physically examine the accused.

The court also heard police quizzed Mr Baden-Clay about a cut on his hand on the morning Mrs Baden-Clay disappeared.

Mr Baden-Clay said he received the injury a day earlier while fitting a light bulb in the bathroom of his friend’s house, which he was helping renovate.

Candice Beaven examined the scratches on Mr Baden-Clay’s face on April 21, 2012, after police allegedly advised him to document his injuries.

She told the court she observed “three vertical scratches” on Mr Baden-Clay’s face.

“At least three times during the consultation [he said] that he had cut himself with a blunt razor, that he was shaving, and he was in a rush,” Dr Beaven said, adding that Mr Baden-Clay appeared anxious.

She said she asked Mr Baden-Clay whether he had noticed himself bleeding while shaving the previous morning.

“He said he couldn’t be sure and that he was in a rush and mustn’t have noticed,” Dr Beaven said.

At the end of their consultation, Mr Baden-Clay asked the GP how long she had been practising at the Kenmore clinic and where she lived.

“I said I’d been at the practice for about a year and a half and that I lived out past Springfield Lakes, but was looking to move to the area,” she told the court.

“And he handed me his business card and [said] that he might be able to help me with that.”

The trial continues.

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Melbourne Cup coming to Wagga

THE greatest prize in Australian sport is coming to Wagga.

In a fabulous first for the city, the 2014 Melbourne Cup trophy will make a spectacular stopover in Wagga as part of its national tour starting in Western Australia next month.

Melbourne Cup Tour (MCT) organisers yesterday unveiled the list of 34 destinations for the Melbourne Cup’s across-nation odyssey, with the Murrumbidgee Turf Club chosen among the coveted hosts.

As past Cup champions Might And Power, Doriemus, Efficient and Rogan Josh grazed nearby on the Living Legends property outside Melbourne, the Victorian premier’s parliamentary secretary, Craig Ondarchie, announced the 18-carat gold trophy, valued at $176,000, would be in Wagga on September 6.

Murrumbidgee Turf Club president Stuart Lamont later revealed a “community event” would be staged to celebrate the appearance of the Melbourne Cup in the city on the first Saturday of spring.

Speaking to The Daily Advertiser yesterday, Lamont said the arrival of the Melbourne Cup would provide a “rare opportunity” for the residents of the city and surrounding centres.

“It’s exciting for Wagga to be part of such a major event for racing,” Lamont said yesterday.

“This will be a rare opportunity for Riverina residents to see the

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GOLDEN MOMENT: Murrumbidgee Turf Club’s Michelle Blocklock with the 2015 Melbourne Cup

Melbourne Cup first hand.

“And a wide cross-section of the community – not only those involved in racing – will be able to enjoy the experience.”

Although details of the community celebration are yet to be completed, it is expected thousands will take the chance to admire the trophy to be handed to the owners of this year’s great race.

As usual, Australia will come to a virtual standstill on the first Tuesday in November (4) when the Melbourne Cup is run and won.

Significantly, Melbourne Cup Tour organisers took time to acknowledge Wagga as the birthplace 100 years ago of legendary jockey Arthur “Scobie” Breasley at yesterday’s announcement.

Breasley never rode a Melbourne Cup winner, but claimed five Caulfield Cups, a career tally of 3251 victories and four English jockey premierships.

MTC promotions manager Michelle Blacklock was at the Living Legends property yesterday when Wagga, Cootamundra and Deniliquin were given pride of place on the Cup tour.

“The Emirates Melbourne Cup visit provides the opportunity for Wagga and surrounding communities to celebrate this proud icon of Australian history while drawing attention to local landmarks, including the Murrumbidgee River,” Blacklock said.

The Cup Tour will start in the small WA town of York, 375 kilometres east of Perth, in July before crossing the continent to ultimately land in Melbourne on October 27.

Along the way, the Melbourne Cup will be on show at 33 other sites, and will viewed by hundreds of thousands.

Wagga, Cootamundra and Deniliquin are among eight MCT destinations in NSW, which also include Sydney, Murwillumbah-Tweed Heads, Lismore, Ballina and Grenfell.

The three and a half month MCT will not just be about the Melbourne Cup trophy.

Organisers have confirmed jockeys, trainers and owners with ties to the Melbourne Cup will also take part in the tour, recalling their personal stories of racing glory and heartache.

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Suspended jail sentence for woman who stole TV, teddy bear and a bar of chocolate

REHAB: A woman has attempted rehab after a drug-induced shoplifting spree.A WOMAN who had an extensive shoplifting record which dated back to 1987 was handed a suspended jail sentence in Orange Local Court.

The court heard Fay Bargwanna had a history of drug abuse and was affected by drugs at the time of the offences, which occurred on May 15.

Her solicitor Rebecca McIlveen said her client had gone to great lengths to address her addiction and had for the first time, completed two months of a methadone program.

Since she began the program she had only had one lapse, Ms McIlveen said.

“This lapse was what resulted in the three offences of the same date and all bar the bar of confectionery … all the property was returned.

Police facts said on May 15 the 46-year-old walked into Dick Smith with a trolley at 3.30 in the afternoon and walked down to the back of the store.

She picked up a television worth $298 and placed it in the trolley and walked out of the store.

Later that day she walked into a newsagents in the Summer Centre and picked up various items including a teddy bear, a jewellery box and a diary and placed those items in her trolley and left.

Her shopping continued to Big W where a security guard in the shop saw her grab a bar of coconut ice, open the packet and eat the bar.

He apprehended her and called police.

At the time she had taken five Xanex tablets and was unable to be interviewed due to her “obvious intoxication”.

The Adina Crescent resident had a criminal history including assault, larceny and drug offences.

Magistrate, Terry Lucas told her she should be proud she had completed one stage of her rehabilitation program.

“You have an opiate problem … don’t blame anyone else but you.”

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Lapse costs Jaguars win

A 20-MINUTE fadeout has cost the Jaguars a match-winning lead against Wagga United.

Ray Jones found the back of the net during the first half of the game and some great defence by Junee meant the half-time score was 1-nil.

Co-coach Isaac Cooper said the team had put into practice everything they had been working on at training and Jones’ goal had put the premiers on the back foot.

However, a fade-out in the second half cost the team dearly with Wagga United scoring three quick goals -including a penatly to snatch the lead.

“We got back into play and Jones scored a nicely finished goal,” Cooper said.

Jaguars weren’t able to score again however, with the full-time score sitting at 3-2.

Despite the loss Cooper said the team had the skill and potential to upset the Wagga teams.

This weekend, the team will play South Wagga after their tough run of Lake Albert, Tolland, Henwood Park and Wagga United.

“We’ve got to get back into the groove of things now,” Cooper said.

“We just need to get the points from teams that are below us on the ladder to stay in touch with the top four placed teams.”

Against Wagga United, Cooper rated fellow coach Jason Mutimer’s game.

“He (Mutimer) was solid in his move to defence while Ray Jones had a good game with two goals,” Cooper said.

Meanwhile, the Jaguars’ reserve grade team drew a match with Tolland.

Cooper said the team played a good game but were a bit unlucky not to convert their chances into points.

“Robin Asmus had a solid game and so did Matt Carvasso in goals; he turned away any chances that Tumut had.”

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BREAKING NEWS: Griffith woman denied bail

“OH NO, no please.”That was the desperate plea from Griffith woman Lesley Thompson when judge John Williams denied bail after adjourning her sentencing hearing today.

Thompson, 51, has been on bail after pleading guilty to two counts of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception.

The Griffith District Court heard Thompson illegally transferred more than $1 million over a period of six years from an an account held by her employer, Hotondo Homes, into her personal bank account.

Thompson’s lawyer Chris Watson told the court she had been suffering from a gambling addiction and was extremely remorseful.

He told the court a doctor’s report revealed Thompson was disgusted by what she did.

Thompson confirmed she told the doctor that after being called to the witness stand by her lawyer.

“I didn’t think I deserved to be alive for what I’ve done,” she said.

Thompson confirmed the stolen money was used on pokie machines.

She alleged that growing up her father was physically abusive to her mother and when her mother had a win on the pokies, it made her dad happy.

Thompson allegedher ex-husband was also physically abusive and she went on to replicate her mother’s behaviour – giving him money when she had a win on the pokies.

“I honestly don’t know how I did it,” she said.

When the possibility of a jail term was mentioned, she wept uncontrollably in the witness stand.

She said she was extremely remorseful for her actions.

“Oh god, I’m so sorry. If I could take it back I would. I will never forgive myself for what I’ve done – not as long as I live.”

Thompson said she had no idea how much money she had stolen.

“I cannot fathom the amounts. I am mortified.”

When Thompson was asked whether she would ever use a pokie machine againshe said “never”.

“They are the most evil, wicked things ever invented. They ruin lives. I’ve ruined lives because of them. I hate them.”

When Thompson was asked why she didn’t seek help for her gambling addiction, she said she didn’t know she had a problem.

The court heard Thompson had not repaid back any of the money she obtained fraudulently, but she said she had every intention of paying it back.

When asked if she would pay it back she said: “every cent for the rest of my life”.

Judge Williams questioned Thompson and said she must have known what she was doing was wrong.

“I didn’t have the skills to get help,” she said.

Thompson was then asked to sit in the dock while her lawyer made his submissions.

He asked the judge to consider special circumstances including the fact she had allegedly been a victim of domestic violence in the past.

He said his client had since sought help for her gambling addictions and acknowledged her rehabilitation would be ongoing.

Thompson sobbed and rocked back and forth in the dock, clearly distressed each time a jail sentence was mentioned.

She was visibly distressed when the judge adjourned the matter until Thursday and denied bail.

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