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The Reporter – Queensland
13th Mar 2013 10:21 AM
Updated: 3:56 PM
Allison Baden-Clay. QT file image
UPDATE 3.45pm: REAL estate business partners gave Gerard Baden-Clay an ultimatum about his affair with fellow agent Toni McHugh.
Former business partner Jocelyn Frost said she became aware of Baden-Clay’s affair with McHugh after a few months working with them in late 2008.
“It was one of the conditions of the two partners that he must either leave his wife or leave Toni or we wouldn’t continue,” she said.
Business partner Phillip Bloom told the court he confirmed there was an affair during a colleague’s engagement party in 2009.
He said after that he could never be sure whether Baden-Clay was “with Toni, leaving Toni, with Allison or leaving Allison”.
Mr Bloom said he was concentrating on the business and “really didn’t care”.
He recalled a conversation between McHugh and Baden-Clay when they were in Sydney for a training course detailing their long-term plans.
Mr Bloom said he recalled the pair talking about needing a bigger car to fit Baden-Clay’s three girls and Ms McHugh’s two boys.
“He discussed future arrangements on multiple occasions,” he said.
“It was confusing to me as to whether or not they were in the throes of an affair, had cooled off the affair or rekindled the affair.”
Mr Bloom said he could not recall any specific conversations about Baden-Clay leaving his wife but there were many discussions about it.
“We had many conversations but they changed, about the matter,” he said.
Ms Frost said she allowed Baden-Clay a $200,000 loan to buy her out.
But she said she had only received interest on the loan, never her share of the commission company.
Ms Frost said Baden-Clay told her he was trying to organise a loan through Century 21 Australia owner Charles Tarbey.
She said after Baden-Clay’s arrest, Mr Tarbey tried to sell the rental roll part of the business.
But Ms Frost said landlords believed the company was “a sinking ship” and it had never sold.
She said she was still paying debts from Baden-Clay’s business including a $30,000 printer and a $3000 Courier-Mail bill.
“Gerard said he could afford to pay me the last two properties I sold, about $25,000,” she said.
“I was very naive, I didn’t ask to see the spreadsheet with plus and minuses.
“He told me he had paid me everything but later I thought about it and there’s no way I had been paid everything that was owed to me.”
Mr Bloom said he too had put $50,000 into the business and the relationship with Baden-Clay had not ended well.
“The man I knew and worked alongside for a great many years I did have a strong affection for,” he said.
“But what transpired… ”
Mr Bloom did not get to finish because defence barrister Peter Davis cut him off and asked him to answer the question, “did you like Mr Baden-Clay?”
“The day I walked out of the business … the passing comment was that if we ran into each other I’d like to think we would buy each other a drink,” Mr Bloom said.
“You’re here to sink the boot,” Mr Davis suggested.
“No I’m not,” Mr Bloom said but admitted he had little to do with Baden-Clay after he left the business in September, 2011.
UPDATE 3pm: MURDER accused Gerard Baden-Clay allegedly claimed he would “go broke or bankrupt” if former Queensland minister Bruce Flegg did not lend him $400,000.
Dr Flegg’s friend Sue Heath told Brisbane Magistrates Court she had phoned Baden-Clay in the lead up to the 2012 State Election to help Dr Flegg out.
“He was quite distressed,” she said.
“He was shaken in his voice.
“He just appeared to be very stressed”.
Ms Heath said she told him she did not think Dr Flegg would be in a position to find that kind of money.
She said Baden-Clay was “very emotional” and “sad” by the end of the phone call.
“I felt really sad for him,” she said.
“It looked like things were going bad and I knew Bruce was fond of him.”
Ms Heath said she met Baden-Clay at a function at Queensland Parliament House but his wife Allison was absent.
She said she learned from either Dr Flegg or Baden-Clay that Allison suffered depression and the marriage was shaky.
Ms Heath said she also helped Dr Flegg sell one of his units through Baden-Clay but mostly dealt with another staff member.
Ms Heath was on the phone with Dr Flegg about 11pm on April 19 last year, when Dr Flegg heard “blood-curdling” screams from somewhere outside his Brookfield home.
She said she did not hear any screams from her end of the phone.
Scratches on Gerard Baden-Clay’s cheek likely from fingernails: second doctor
ANOTHER doctor has concluded long scratches on Gerard Baden-Clay’s cheek were more likely from fingernails than the razor blade the murder accused says caused them.
“The injuries I’m seeing in this image are a number of broadly parallel abrasions,” Dr David Wells said.
“They do not represent incise wounds … that one would associate with a sharp object.
“(They show) a relatively blunt or irregular edge making contact with the skin.
“I have trouble with the concept this was produced by a razor blade.”
Dr Wells said the “protruded nails” on Allison Baden-Clay’s fingers could have caused the scratches on her husband’s face.
“Certainly nails of that type, forcibly applied to the skin or movement across the skin, could produce an injury of a gouging nature,” he said.
Dr Wells said another mark on the face could indicated an interrupted movement as the parties moved.
“It’s a very dynamic event,” he said.
“Let’s assume this is a fingernail producing this.
“There are two parties mobile. So there can be an interruption.
“Where the nail is lifted, whether one party moves slightly, that may cause a change in directionality.
“The nail itself could turn, instead of a straight linear line, a curved one across the skin.
“I’m trying to think what else could produce that but I might leave that to you,” he told defence barrister Peter Davis.
Antidepressant level in Allison’s blood ‘too low to die from’
IT would be “exceptional” if antidepressant drugs in Allison Baden-Clay’s system were fatally toxic, a forensic doctor has concluded.
Dr Robert Hoskins told Brisbane Magistrates Court medical literature showed 20 to 50 tablets would need to be ingested to produce fatally toxic levels but all those people had survived.
“The levels of blood were all a great deal higher than what is described in this case,” he said.
“It’s never happened before or written down anywhere at that level (that the antidepressant levels in Allison’s blood could have caused death).”
Prosecutor Danny Boyle asked whether the drug level was simply too low to die from. Dr Hoskins agreed.
Gerard Baden-Clay’s barrister Peter Davis questioned the doctor about whether the toxicity levels could have decreased through the metabolic process after death.
Dr Hoskins said the total amount in the body after death could not increase but it could increase or decrease concentration in different parts of the body.
Baden-Clay’s razor cut claims ‘implausible’: forensic doctor
A FORENSIC doctor has suggested two wide scratch marks to Gerard Baden-Clay’s cheek were at least six hours old when police took photos the morning the Brookfield man reported his wife Allison missing.
Doctor Robert Hoskins told Brisbane Magistrates Court he had examined a photo of the razor Baden-Clay claimed caused the scratches, and bought the same tool to examine more closely, but found that version “implausible”.
He said a razor could not have made the marks running front to back or back to front on the face.
Nor was it likely, he said, the blades could have caused the marks moving up and down because razors were designed to avoid such injuries.
Dr Hoskins, on the third day of a murder committal hearing, agreed the two major scratches had the hallmarks of fingernail injuries.
“Yes but it would not be possible to say for certain they were caused by fingernails,” he said.
Dr Hoskins said other abrasive surfaces could also cause “similar” scratches – suggesting the metal top of a pencil with the eraser removed, a chewed pencil, rocks, coral, a broken stick, rough foliage, thorns or branches.
After viewing photos of Allison’s hands, Dr Hoskins noted the fingernails extended beyond the end of her fingers.
He said the longer the nail, the easier to cause scratches.
“It would be a possible explanation for those injuries,” he said.
Dr Hoskins said the non-linear lines of the scratches could be explained by “relevant movement between the parties at the time it was caused”.
He said there were smaller scratch marks closer to the neck which could be attributed to shaving, labelling them “typical” razor blade marks.
Dr Hoskins said those marks were redder, suggesting they were relatively fresh.
He said the colour of the wider, longer scratches suggested they were at least six hours old because they no longer held a fresh blood colour.
“When you see people who have grazed themselves and it has dried like this, you would expect it to be at least six hours ago,” he said.
The photos were taken at 10am on April 20.
Baden-Clay stands accused of murdering his wife on April 19 at their Brookfield home and then dumping her body under the Kholo Creek Bridge, near Ipswich.
Her body was found 10 days later but examinations have found no obvious cause of death.
Gerard Baden-Clay committed to stand trial for wife’s murder
20th Mar 2013 10:01 AM
Updated: 12:18 PM
The Crown leaves court after the committal hearing for Gerard Baden-Clay. Rae Wilson
MURDER accused Gerard Baden-Clay told a packed courtroom he was “not guilty” of killing his wife Allison as he was committed to stand trial.
Chief magistrate Brendan Butler formally sent him to the Brisbane Supreme Court for trial on a date to be fixed for murder and interfering with a corpse.
Defence barrister Peter Davis had told the court his client “vehemently denied” the charges but consented to being committed to trial.
Mr Butler said he had independently assessed the evidence and found a jury could deliver a guilty verdict based on the Crown case at its highest.
“I’m of the opinion the evidence is sufficient to put the defendant on trial for the offences charged,” he said.
Mr Butler warned people not to draw conclusions from the committal hearing because only 40 witnesses, out of 280, had given verbal evidence.
He said of those 40 witnesses, the questioning had been selective and limited.
When Mr Butler asked Baden-Clay if he wished to say anything in answer to the charges, he replied: “I am not guilty, your honour”.
Baden-Clay’s sister and solicitor spoke briefly to the media outside court.
“I will continue to support him throughout this process,” Baden-Clay’s sister Olivia Walton said.
“One day the truth will be revealed”.
Solicitor Darren Mahony said Baden-Clay is “eager to have this matter tried.”
To view original article click here
by: Sarah Elks
March 14, 2013 12:00AM
Baden-Clay most likely did not overdose on Zoloft: expert
A FORENSICS expert says he cannot rule out the possibility Allison Baden-Clay died from a toxic overdose of the prescription anti-depressant medication Zoloft, a court has heard.
Dr Hoskins said while he thought it unlikely Baden-Clay, 42, had taken a fatal dose, he could not rule it out.
The expert was appearing at a committal hearing in the Brisbane Magistrates Court to decide whether Mr Baden-Clay, 43, should face trial for his wife’s murder.
Mr Baden-Clay has denied any involvement in the death or the disposal of his wife’s body, which was found on April 30 last year on a muddy creek bed 14km from their home.
The discovery came 10 days after the prestige real estate agent reported his wife missing, sparking a massive search and huge public interest.
Earlier in the committal hearing, the forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy said he was unable to conclusively determine what caused Baden-Clay’s death, because the body was so badly decomposed by the time it was found.
Asked by Mr Davis how many Zoloft tablets someone needed to take to commit suicide, Dr Hoskins said overdose cases fell between a range of 20 and 50 tablets, however those people had survived.
He said, given the state of decomposition and the time taken to find the body, it was impossible to accurately determine how much Zoloft had been taken just before Baden-Clay died.
However, under re-examination by prosecutor Danny Boyle, Dr Hoskins said it would be “exceptional” if Baden-Clay had died from Zoloft, given the level of the drug found in her blood.
He said an overdose from such a low amount had not been recorded in the scientific literature, and was consistent with a normal therapeutic dose.
Mr Boyle said: “So the level is too low?”
Dr Hoskins answered: “Yes”.
He also testified he believed scratches on Mr Baden-Clay’s face were caused by fingernails, but conceded they could have been caused by other abrasive objects such as coral, a chewed pencil or a broken stick.
Mr Baden-Clay told police the mother of three failed to return to their Brookfield home after going on a late night walk.
The prosecution argues that he killed his wife and was driven by two motives: a desire to be with his mistress and a dire financial situation.
Later yesterday, one of Mr Baden-Clay’s former business partners told the court she had issued him with an ultimatum in late 2011: to leave his wife or his lover, or the real estate partnership would fail.
The hearing continues.