A supplied undated image of scratches on the face of Gerard Baden-Clay.
A supplied undated image of scratches on the face of Gerard Baden-Clay. Queensland Courts

PI: Spider web made girl scream on night of Allison's murder

A PRIVATE detective has tracked down a teenage girl who let out a startled scream after running into a spider web the night Allison Baden-Clay was allegedly murdered.

Defence lawyers for accused man Gerard Baden-Clay hired a private detective who found the girl's mother, who only made a formal police statement on Sunday a week into the murder trial.

Stephanie Apps testified that her children were fighting when they arrived home between 9.30pm and 10pm on April 19, 2012.

She said went crook at her daughter for knocking over a pot at the front door and the teenage girl went running up the driveway.

"I heard a scream. She had apparently run into a spider's web," she said.

"I was actually cringing because the neighbourhood was very quiet."

Ms Apps said it was a short, sharp scream that was "quite loud".

"It wasn't bloodcurdling but it was a startled scream," she said.

"She's terrified of spiders."

Several neighbours reported hearing a scream during that night.

Friend: I saw welt of Baden-Clay before wife went missing

A FRIEND has testified that he saw a welt on Gerard Baden-Clay's neck the day before his wife went missing.

Cameron Early - who knew Mr Baden-Clay through the Brookfield school's P and C, Brookfield Show Society and Kenmore Chamber of Commerce - said they were spectating at their children's cross country carnival on April 19, 2012.

He said they were talking beneath the trees on the western side of the state school oval about 9.15am.

Mr Early said Mr Baden-Clay suddenly started pulling at the left of his neck.

"He words to the effect of 'oh sh** what was that - bloody hell that hurt'," he said.

"He was indicating he had been bitten by something, agitation to the side of his neck."

Mr Early said they had just come from a Chamber of Commerce breakfast and he believed Mr Baden-Clay was still in his business attire.

He said Mr Baden-Clay kept complaining about what had irritated his neck.

"Presumably a grub of some description had fallen from the tree and bitten him," he said.

Mr Early saw a welt about "an inch and a half long and the width of a finger" on his neck.
 

Expert: Baden-Clay scratches came from fingernails or claw

A FOURTH forensic expert has concluded scratches to Gerard Baden-Clay's face came from fingernails or a claw.

David Wells, testifying via video-link from Victoria, told Brisbane Supreme Court said the marks were unusual but could occur if the person using a razor was distracted and repeatedly dragging it over the area.

"I can't see a mechanism where by that blade could produce or cause those sorts of injuries in normal use," he said after viewing photos of Mr Baden-Clay's shaver.

"The first thing does come to mind when I see any injury such as that will be implements such as fingernails or possibly a claw such as a domestic animal."

Mr Wells said the wounds on Mr Baden-Clay's face were linear, roughly parallel and relatively superficial.

"I can't reconcile that type of razor or those blades producing such an injury.

"If you go back to the photograph of the injury itself, it's possible that a razor such as that could produce those small oval round ones near the corner of the mouth or up around the ear.

"At the small end of the linear abrasion further away from the mouth, you can see some very fine linear marks.

"That could I suppose be produced by a blade."

"Broke or bankrupt"

MURDER accused Gerard Baden-Clay allegedly told a friend of Queensland MP Bruce Flegg that he would go "broke or bankrupt" if he could not get a $300,000 loan.

Sue Heath told Brisbane Supreme Court that Mr Baden-Clay phone her while she was at a polling booth on Moggil Road on March 12 to ask for Mr Flegg's help.

Mr Flegg was preparing to contest the seat of Moggil at the Queensland Election on March 24, 2012.

Ms Heath said Mr Baden-Clay was distressed when he spoke to her about lending $300,000.

"He wanted to know if Bruce could lend him some money," she said.

"He was distressed.

"I could just tell in his voice. He was normally very confident and he was genuinely, really quite distressed.

"I felt really quite sad for him.

"I think he was under a lot of pressure.

"He asked if he could borrow some money.

"I really didn't know if Bruce was in that kind of position.

"I didn't think we would have that kind of money.

"He said that if he didn't get it, he would go broke or bankrupt.

"I just felt really said because they seemed so successful."

Ms Heath said Mr Baden-Clay seemed "fine" when she told him she did not think they had that kind of money.

"He had impeccable manners," she said.

"But I said I didn't really know and I would ask Bruce."

Ms Heath said she was on the phone to Mr Flegg on April 19 - the night Mr Baden-Clay is accused of murdering his wife Allison - when he asked her to turn off her TV because he heard a scream.

She said she did not have the television on and suggested he go outside to have a look.

"Highly improbable" Baden-Clay's scratches from razor

A THIRD forensic expert - the first to examine Gerard Baden-Clay in person - concluded fingernails caused the scratches on his face.

Forensic medical officer Leslie Griffiths, who specialises in interpreting injuries, said he first looked at the injury about 7.15pm on April 22, 2012.

He said healing of the injuries was more advanced than photographs he had seen because they were a lot darker.

"They were quite broad," he said.

"The shape of the injury itself isn't a regular shape.

"The edges to me when I saw them appeared to be irregular.

"Not distinct like a cut.

"That's why I call them an abrasion."

Dr Griffiths said force was needed to cause an abrasion but it was not necessarily a direct blow to the skin.

"The force is usually at an angle to the skin," he said.

"I made the finding that whatever caused that, the direction of force was down because there was a little bit of tapering on the left.

"I formed the opinion when I saw that that they could be caused by a human scratch, in other words from fingernail scratch.

"They resemble scratch marks."

Dr Griffiths said the marks were about 1cm apart and looked like they occurred about the same time.

"I also would say any sharp object that had two surfaces could produce that, so there might be other explanations," he said.

"I formed the impression they could be caused by fingernail scratching."

Dr Griffiths, when asked about the likelihood of a razor causing the scratches, said he thought of cuts or nicks when he thought about shaving.

"I think it's highly improbable, in my opinion, that would be caused by a safety razor or any razor," he said.

"I've never seen an injury like that in my own experience.

"In my opinion, that sort of safety device on the end, it's designed, I'm sure, to prevent that sort of injury occurring.

"They're abrasions, not a cut.

"An abrasion would not be caused by something like this (a razor).

"I can't see how that would cause an abrasion of the sort I've just (described)."

Dr Griffiths said he believed a mark on Mr Baden-Clay's neck was also an abrasion - possibly a patterned abrasion from a shirt pressing against the skin.

He said there was degree of tapering which suggested to him the pressure was greatest at the top and could indicate fingernail involvement.

"If it was caused by a finger, as the finger went down, it probably lifted off the skin at this point here," he said.

Dr Griffiths said a mark near Mr Baden-Clay's armpit could have been from a strap on a pack or pressure from the fabric of a shirt.

"I can't be certain about that," he said.

Dr Griffiths said Mr Baden-Clay had a brush abrasion or a pattern abrasion on his chest which clothing pushed against him could have caused.

"It could suggested movement of whatever caused that in the direction of the shoulder," he said.

"But it's just a suggestion.

"There is some imprecision in interpreting injuries."

Dr Griffiths said he examined Mr Baden-Clay two months later on June 14, 2012.

He said the healing of those face wounds was complete but there was still scarring evident when he shaved back the beard that had been grown.

"I think it conforms my opinion it was an abrasion rather than a cut," he said.

"A cut … would heal well before that completely.

"If it was a shaving cut or nick, which is a very superficial injury … would heal within a week.

"But two months later I can see the marks which suggests it was much deeper, broader, an abrasion."

Under cross-examination from defence barrister Michael Byrne, Dr Griffiths reiterated that assessing such injuries was imprecise.

 

Impossible to determine cause of Baden Clay's scratches

A BUSY combination of scratches on Gerard Baden-Clay's chest could have been caused by his own fingernails.

"A person who scratches themselves repeatedly doesn't scratch themselves in exactly the same place," Dr Robert Hoskins said.

"If these were caused by Mr Baden-Clay himself I would be completely unsurprised."

But the forensic expert said the chest scratching also could have come from abrupt contact with a firm object with a pattern or an unpatterned object through clothing to the skin.

Dr Hoskins said the scratching could come from a coarsely woven woolen or cotton garment if an object struck the chest or it fell onto the object.

"When I look at it there's nothing that immediately leaps into my mind and says I think I know what caused this," he said.

"If an explanation is advanced, it might be possible to say that makes sense or that doesn't make sense."

When asked about another abrasion, which Dr Hoskins called a "fancy name for a graze", near Mr Baden-Clay's armpit, he offered three potential activities that could cause it.

He said if someone was wearing a backpack and it was pulled up, that injury could have occurred.

Dr Hoskins said it also could come from someone wearing non-elastic clothing and the clothing was grabbed as the person was pushed upwards or backwards.

He said it also could be scratching through clothing.

Defence barrister Michael Byrne suggested the possible causes were pure speculation.

Dr Hoskins agreed but said he was asked for his opinion on what could have caused them.

He agreed it was "impossible to say with absolute certainty" that fingernails caused scratches on Mr Baden-Clay's face.

"I can't rule out other possible causes," he said.

"I think there are a number of things that could be ruled out for face."

Dr Hoskins said he could rule out some causes, such as a styrafoam cup being dragged across the face.

He said having two photos 24 hours apart had helped him with aging the injuries to Mr Baden-Clay's face.

Dr Hoskins said dried blood spots, near the bottom of longer scratches, depicted in a photo taken not long after Mr

Baden-Clay reported his wife missing suggested an injury between six and 24 hours before the photo was taken.

He said a pinkness to surrounding tissue in a photo taken 24 hours later was a reaction that occurred about 24 hours after an injury.

"Extremely implausible" Baden-Clay's scratches from razor

A FORENSIC expert says it is "extremely implausible" that the marks on Gerard Baden-Clay's face came from a razor.

Robert David Hoskins, a medical practitioner now working for the Health Department in Gladstone, said the ragged edges, similar direction and the approximately parallel scratches suggested they were from fingernails.

"When I look at photos such as this the thing that springs to my mind is that those injuries are characteristic of fingernail scratches," he said.

"That's what we see when people are scratched with fingernails.

"It doesn't absolutely exclude alternative explanations."

Dr Hoskins said if someone showed him a twig with three branches sticking out and asked if that could have caused the injury, then he would have to agree it could.
He said razors, though, were had been designed over decades specifically to avoid injuries.

"I find it extremely implausible," he said.

"Typically they are small cuts that are 1-2cm in size and not broad like these."

Dr Hoskins said he inspected scratches on "dozens and dozens of people" but "probably less than a hundred".

MEDICAL practitioner Renu Kumar believes a razor could have inflicted the scratches on Gerard Baden-Clay's face if he was rushing.

Rush job shave cuts seemed wider than doctor would have expected

The Taringa doctor - who examined Mr Baden-Clay about 4pm on April 21, 2012 - said she could not be 100% sure whether a razor or some other object had caused the injury.

"He said it was from the razor he used to shave his face on Friday morning," she said.

"He told me it was an old razor and it was a rush job and that's why he had injuries.

"They seem to me to be wider than a razor but certainly you can.

"When you are rushing you can injure yourself."

Dr Kumar said Mr Baden-Clay told her a superficial scratch on his neck was from a caterpillar landing on his neck.

She said she also looked at a large area with many scratches on his chest.

"He said that he scratched himself, he was itchy and scratched himself there," she said.

"He demonstrated how he did it by re-doing the motion of the scratching."

Dr Kumar said Mr Baden-Clay looked "a bit sad".

"He told me that his wife went missing since Friday morning," she said.

"He wasn't crying. He wasn't smiley or happy or teary but he looked sad.

"He told me his lawyers had told him to get the injuries documented."

Expert not 100% sure scratchmarks were from fingernails

MURDER accused Gerard Baden-Clay knew the wide "orangey" scratches down his right cheek were deemed "suspicious".

He told everyone he encountered on the morning he reported Allison missing - from his three young daughters to the stream of police through his Brookfield home - that he cut himself while shaving with an old razor.

The next day he went to a GP at Kenmore to have his injuries documented, on legal advice his lawyers suggested while cross-examining a witness in Brisbane Supreme Court on Wednesday.

But forensic expert Dr Margaret Stark, who told the court she had examined thousands of razor injuries, said those cuts were more consistent with fingernail scratches than razor cuts.

She did concede, though, that it was an imprecise science and her examination was not "gold standard" because she used a photograph rather than inspecting Mr Baden-Clay in the flesh.

Mr Baden-Clay has pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife. Her body was found 10 days after she was reported missing under a bridge on Kholo Creek.

Yesterday in the Gerard Baden-Clay murder trial

Senior Constable Cameron Simmons, during a recording conversation sitting at the Baden-Clay dining table on April 20, 2012, said "it doesn't look like a shaving cut to me".

"I cut myself shaving this morning and everybody thinks that's suspicious," Mr Baden-Clay said.

"I haven't brought new razor blades for six months.

"I have to be as careful as I possibly can.

"This morning I was rushing.

"I shaved down and then back and sideways to try and make it as smooth as possible."

Dr Stark, who is the director of the clinical forensic medical unit within the NSW police force, said it was difficult to age the injuries but some yellowing she could see on the photograph suggested some evidence of healing while some redder abrasions suggested a more recent injury.

 Holden Captiva
Holden Captiva Contributed

"They're not fresh, as in caused in the last couple of hours," she said.

"They're hours or days old but you couldn't be more definite.

"They just seem to me to be more typical of fingernails rather than the finer abrasion you get from a razor, even if it is blunt."

But Dr Stark agreed, under cross-examination, that she could not conclude 100% the marks came from fingernails..

GP Candice Beaven said she examined the cuts to Mr Baden-Clay's face about 8.30am on April 21 and told him she could not offer him any treatment.

She said he seemed calm and composed but she "could tell he was anxious and a little bit on edge".

Dr Beaven said Mr Baden-Clay, towards the end of the consultation, asked her how long she had been at the Kenmore practice and whether she lived locally.

"I said I'd been at the practice for about a year and a half at that stage and that I lived out past Springfield Lakes but that I was looking to live closer to the area," she said.

"He handed me his business card and said that he might be able to help me with that."

Police scientific officer Senior Constable Carl Streeting described two blood stains, depicted in a photo shown to the jury, found in Allison Baden-Clay's silver Holden Captiva.

He said there was a transfer stain and a flowing rivulet of blood in the car, which the jury heard was a recent purchase for the family.

"Some force would have had to have been applied for the mere fact that it transferred," he said.

"There's no current way to have a look at a blood stain and say it's been there for x amount of time."

Crown prosecutor Todd Fuller told the jury during his opening address that the blood stain had matched Allison's DNA.

The trial continues.


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