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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