Gerard Baden-Clay
Gerard Baden-Clay

Baden-Clay a narcissist who believes he is above law: expert

TO the outside world, Gerard Baden-Clay had it all.

The ballerina wife with a head for business, three daughters and an award-winning real estate business that had been named among Business Review Weekly's top 100 fast starters for the nation.

Money was rolling in as business boomed in 2010 - he was pocketing $5500 some weeks and had splashed out on a new Lexus.

Baden-Clay, who was schooled at Toowoomba Grammar, was well-known in Brisbane's western suburbs: Kenmore Chamber of Commerce president, Brookfield State School P& C vice president as well as being involved in the local kindergarten board, the Brookfield Show Society and Rotary.

The great grandson of Sir Robert Baden Powell - who was a war hero and the founder of the scouting movement- had volunteered for the movement in Switzerland, worked in London and travelled the world.

No one knew him to be violent, a fact he proclaimed himself, and with a police officer even labelling him "one of the nicest guys in the world".

So where did it all go wrong? How did Baden-Clay find himself convicted of murdering his wife Allison?

Missing person Allison Baden-Clay. Photo: Contributed
Missing person Allison Baden-Clay. Photo: Contributed Contributed

Griffith University's Paul Mazerolle, who is a principal investigator in the Australian Homicide Project, said the Baden-Clay case showed almost the opposite of patterns leading to partner homicide.

The data - gathered from 302 killers thus far - shows entitlement, jealousy, real or perceived infidelity and insecure attachment as primary motivators for killing.

Mr Mazerolle said Baden-Clay seemed to be "an outlayer" because those elements did not appear to be present.

"For partner homicide, it doesn't fit," he said.

"It's both outside the theory and outside the patterns we've been observing when it comes to pathways to partner homicide.

"We don't seem to have a lot of Baden-Clays in our data."

Mr Mazerolle said partner violence preceded most partner homicide but not all of it came to police attention.

He said one study showed that in 100 partner homicides, half had official domestic violence records in their history, but that did not mean there was none in the other cases.

"Some of the homicide might not be intentional," he said.

"What elevates an extreme bashing to homicide might be access to a weapon or things go too far."

The Crown narrative during Baden-Clay's six-week trial suggested the problems simmering beneath the surface of the high flyer's seemingly perfect life would be his undoing.

That he suffocated her when the pressure became too much for him.

His marriage to Allison Dickie, who went to school in Ipswich, had a rotten core. Baden-Clay once called his wife a princess and loved making all the decisions for their growing family.

But with his wife Allison battling depression and anxiety problems - linked to an anti-malaria drug taken on their honeymoon to South America - he strayed.

The charming businessman had affairs with at least three women from the real estate world - Toni McHugh, Jackie Crane and Michelle Hammond.

He has implied there were more.

Baden-Clay tried to stay faithful for a short time after Allison learned of the three-year affair with Toni, but his philandering ways quickly returned.

His unsuspecting wife was subjected to belittling - like the time he laughed at her underwear and the time he told her she smelled.

Her journal showed she was blaming herself for their flailing marriage - wishing for a proper hug and longing for her husband would make love to her.

She tried to find ways to make herself more attractive to her husband, even buying a treadmill to lose weight.

But she got in trouble for wasting money from the man who at one stage was throwing cash around.

 After deciding to capitalise on his booming business with a rapid expansion, the 2011 Brisbane flood left his future in tatters.

He soon owed about $90,000 each to his three best friends, had a mortgage on an investment property and was seeking $3-400,000 from friends such as Moggill MP Bruce Flegg to bridge a further gap.

Baden-Clay had promised Toni he would leave his wife on July 1, Allison's birthday.

He told her he loved her and continued seeing her after he told his wife the affair had ended.

The two women were to come together at a real estate conference on April 20, 2012.

After a jury in Brisbane Supreme Court this week found Gerard guilty of murdering wife Allison, Justice John Byrne said the accused had succumbed to the pressure of his double life and his dire business affairs.

He said the killing was not pre-meditated but it was violent, with fingernail scratches on his face showing a desperate woman struggling for her life.

Baden-Clay lodged an appeal against the conviction just 48 hours after the verdict was handed down.

He has always maintained his innocence, arguing an old razor caused the scratches during a rushed shave.  

There are no reports police ever attended the Baden-Clay household to investigate physical violence.

Though Baden-Clay has vehemently denied any suggestion he physically harmed his wife, Allison no longer has a voice to contradict his testimony.

We know he is a liar. He has said so.

Justice Byrne even warned parole authorities in the future to be sceptical about anything that comes out of his mouth.

We know they were a private couple. Neither of their families knew of his infidelities until after Allison's death.

They kept Allison's depression secret for a long time too and, on Baden-Clay's account, they hid the extent of her illness for years.

Mr Mazerolle said Baden-Clay seemed to show a level of narcissism and a belief that the rules did not apply to him.

"There's an extreme confidence," he said.

"He has been shown to be a pathological liar so there's something idiosyncratic about his personality. "He seems to have a sense of entitlement and believes he is above the law.

"The bow that could easily be shown is that his case doesn't fit the norm compared to most partner homicide cases which are usually preceded by violence, control from partners, extreme jealousy, insecure attachment in the relationship and concerns about partners movement.

"He was doing the one doing what he wants so it's almost the opposite.

"I'd be very comfortable saying what we're finding in our homicide study seems somewhat inconsistent with Baden-Clay."

It could be months before the Queensland Court of Appeal hears Baden-Clay's case against conviction.

It can take the appeal court judge further months to reach a decision about a case presented to them.

While he waits, the man found guilty through the verdict of his peers will spend his days at the Wolston Correctional Centre.

This is the same prison housing Daniel Morcombe's killer - Queensland's other high profile murder case this year.

FAMILY AND FRIENDS MORE LIKELY TO KILL

- About 260 homicides in Australia each year.

- About 36% are domestic related, 37% are acquaintances.

- Of the domestic homicides, 66% involve intimate partners.

- Stab wounds are the most common cause of death in domestic homicides (43%), followed by beatings, gunshot wounds and strangulation.

- A domestic argument is the most apparent motive (49%), followed by break-ups, jealousy and money to a much lesser extend.

- About seven out of 10 homicides involve people you know.

- Most domestic homicides take place in a residential setting, usually the victim's home.

* 2013 National Homicide Monitoring program report using homicide data between 2008 and 2010.



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