Allison Baden-Clay was struggling with husband's infidelity

THE woman who told Allison Baden-Clay about her husband's affair says her friend was still struggling with the infidelity in the weeks before her death.

Wendy Mollah, who learned about the affair from another mother, said they both had children in grade one at Brookfield State School and they pursued real estate ventures together for extra money.

She said they would catch up for lunches or visit each other's houses.

"She was a wonderful, wonderful mother," she said.

"Most of her time was spent doing things with them.

"She was very caring of them."

Ms Mollah said Allison called her after she confronted Gerard about the affair and asked to come over for support.

She said Mr Baden-Clay told her he had been having an affair with "Toni" in the office and it had been going on for some time.

Ms Mollah said Allison told Gerard she needed to be told Ms McHugh was not working there immediately.

She said Allison was still finding the affair difficult when she visited her home for dinner about three weeks before she went missing.

"She seemed absolutely fine," she said, when asked about her mood.

Ms Mollah said Allison had texted her on April 15 asking to have dinner after the real estate conference in the city on April 20.

She said she replied saying she could not but suggested the Saturday without response.

Ms Mollah said she heard through the school that Mr Baden-Clay was trying to contact her on April 20 and phoned him.

She said he asked whether she had heard from Allison and she told him she had not.

Ms Mollah said she would phone if she heard from her.

She said Mr Baden-Clay seemed "quite casual" and not the voice of someone whose wife had gone missing.

Allison Baden-Clay in positive mood on day she went missing

A REAL ESTATE training expert has told the court how enthusiastic Allison Baden-Clay was about making changes to her husband's business the day she went missing.

Karen Neilsen-Frasseto said she met with Allison at the Century21 Westside at Taringa for a morning meeting about business development on April 19.

She said they went through strategies to improve the business and Allison was extremely positive about those arrangements.

"She seemed very keen and eager to build the business and turn it around from where it was positioned at that time," she said.

Ms Neilsen-Frasseto said they discussed growing the rent roll and diversifying the market into a larger segment.

She said they discussed Allison's three children and she mentioned she had just returned to the business as her youngest had just started prep.

"She came across as an extremely devoted mother to me," she said.

Ms Neilsen-Frasseto said the plan was for Allison to do some "homework" and then there would be further meetings.

She said Allison was extremely enthusiastic about growing the business and was engrossed in what they were discussing.

Ms Neilsen-Frasseto said Allison would not have cake because she was on a protein diet.

She met Gerard at the end of the meeting and they both appeared excited about future prospects of the business.

Former Century21 receptionist and property management assistant Gabrielle Cadiolo said she could recall the day Toni McHugh left the real estate agency.

She said the woman, who Gerard Baden-Clay was having an affair with, ceased employment in September or October, 2011.

Ms Cadiolo said Ms McHugh and Mr Baden-Clay went for coffee and Ms McHugh never returned.

She said Mr Baden-Clay came back and told staff she would not be returning before sending a group email to all staff saying the same.

Ms Cadiolo said he also discussed it with each staff member individually.

"He said that he had been having an affair with Toni McHugh and that it had ceased and she wouldn't be returning back to the office, she couldn't work here any more," she said.

"He said it would be very difficult for him, he said 'I love her'.

"He said all staff members had to work together as a team to move forward."

Ms Cadiolo said her and fellow staff Elizabeth Scully were asked to remove anything in the office that pertained to Toni McHugh in subsequent days because Allison would be coming to the office.

She said Allison later became general manager of the rental side of the business.

Ms Cadiolo said she saw Allison on the day she went missing before she went to her hairdressing appointment.

She said was joking and laughing with the staff.

"She was happy. She was in a really good mood," she said.

"She had been in training all day.

"Allison enjoyed training, she had vocalised that before."

Ms Cadiolo said Allison had talked about anxiety issues and how she was worried she had passed it onto her girls.

She said it was a general conversation because prevalent in the Cadiolo family and Allison knew she had an interest.

Ms Scully said she too had it explained that the reason Ms McHugh left was because she was having an affair with Mr Baden-Clay.

She said Allison appeared "very happy after she finished her training" the day she went missing.

Ms Scully said they had talked about exercise and whether she could start up a dance class because she liked dancing.

Kate Rankin, who also worked in real estate, was supposed to meet Allison for a real estate conference in the city on April 20.

She said Mr Baden-Clay had told her the previous year how Allison found out about his affair and that "he was going to try and work on his marriage".

Monique Waymouth, from Epic Hair Designs at Kenmore Plaza, said she coloured Allison's hair the afternoon before she went missing.

She said Allison had "fairly big regrowth" and wanted her hair to be more blended.

"She seemed a little bit stressed when she came in and then she was fairly quiet," she said.

"When she left she seemed happy with her hair, I guess, I'm not sure.

"She wasn't very talkative."

Allison described as a nurturing and caring mum

A MUTUAL friend of Allison and Gerard Baden-Clay has described the mother of three as a "nurturing, caring mum".

Fiona Christ said she had known Gerard since about 1988 because he was friends with her husband, and had met Allison in about 1996.

She said Allison and Gerard had just started dating when they moved to Brisbane and their friendship blossomed.

Mrs Christ said she had four children who went to Brookfield State School with the three Baden-Clay girls.

She said the two family had spent many Christmases and holidays together.

"Allison loved her children dearly," she said. "She wanted the best for them.

"She was a very nurturing, caring mum."

Mrs Christ said Allison had been working at Century21 with Gerard in the six months before she died but had been working for New Ways, Pathways and would run her own ballet studio from the Brookfield school before that.

She said Allison was a consultant for New Ways selling health products - such as food, tablets, drinks, hair products and detergents - through parties.

Mrs Christ said Allison had introduced the Pathways program to Brookfield State School to teach students resilience, as well as teaching teachers how to run the program.

"The ballet school was a dream of Allison's," she said.

Mrs Christ said she saw Allison on April 19, 2012 - the day she went missing - dropping off their children at the prep classroom at Brookfield about 8.30am.

She said they had a "positive, nice conversation" for about 20 minutes.

Mrs Christ said Allison told her they had just picked up her sister-in-law Olivia, visiting from Townsville, from the hospital after she had suffered a bad headache.

She said her brother-in-law Adam had a new son and she was excited to be an auntie again.

Mrs Christ said they then talked about sleeping arrangements for their children to have a sleepover the following night and plans to help out at a mother's day stall.

"She seemed fine and she seemed happy," she said.

Under cross-examination from defence barrister Michael Byrne, Mrs Christ said Allison had confided her depressive illness with her.

She said it first came up after the Baden-Clays' first daughter was born in 2001.

Mrs Christ agreed they believed the illness began when she took anti-malaria tablets for her honeymoon with Gerard.

"She struggled with depression," she said.

"Throughout the time I knew Allison I saw signs of her depression.

"A concern Allison had was her anxiety and how it had imposed on her children.

"She was concerned she had created anxiety in them."

Mrs Christ said Gerard stayed home to support Allison for "quite a long time" after the birth of their first child.

She said Allison could not attend her 30th birthday because she did not feel well enough.

Mrs Christ said Allison was concerned about coping with two children when she became pregnant a second time and had asked for advice on routines.

She said she recalled a time in the second half of 2011 when Allison asked her to take the children to a camp because her anti-depressant medication was making her nauseous, dizzy and unable to drive.

Anne Swalwell told the court she had known Gerard for many years through the Brookfield schools' P and C.

She said she only met Allison in October or November, 2011, when she was teaching her daughter jazz ballet through the school.

Ms Swalwell said she saw Allison the day she died while they were dropping children off at the prep classroom.

She said they talked about helping out with the mothers' day stall at school and joked about Allison asking the "boss" for some time off to do so.

"It was just friendly banter," she said. "She seemed happy that morning actually."

Ms Swalwell said Gerard was "always very nice to me" and she never had any bad dealings with him.
She said she never saw any arguments between the Baden-Clays.

Allison Baden-Clay's cause of death a mystery

A PATHOLOGIST said he would expect fractured bones if Allison Baden-Clay had fallen from the bridge over Kholo Creek where she was found.

Nathan Milne told Brisbane Supreme Court that a fall from 14m onto the bank where she was found would have resulted in significant injuries.

"Someone falling 14m onto that surface, I would expect significant injuries such as fractures," he said.

"That's falling onto the ground rather than water.

"If there was a depth of water that she fell into then may not be any detectable injuries."

Dr Milne said he did not believe Allison died from natural causes.

"Firstly there was no history of significant natural disease to raise that possibility," he said.

"No natural disease was identified within the limits of the examination.

"Thirdly my assessment of the death scene is that is not from a natural death.

"I don't know what the cause of death is.

"I don't have any information to be confident about anything that's caused the death."

Dr Milne said toxicology samples taken from Allison's liver were "grossly sub-optimal" and could not be relied on.

He said he would ideally need blood from the lower limbs and blood that was not decomposed but neither was possible.

Dr Milne said blood from the legs changed the least after death and was therefore most reliable.

He said there was a 0.095% blood alcohol concentration but that did not mean Allison had alcohol in her blood at death.

Dr Milne said once putrefaction occurred, the bacteria in the body fermented and produced alcohol.

He said there was no signs of sexual assault.

Under cross-examination from defence barrister Michael Byrne, Dr Milne agreed the body could have been in the water but it could not be determined.

But he said the mummification changes meant the body had been exposed to the air for at least a number of days.

"There was very thorough, meticulous medical examination carried out post mortem?" Mr Byrne asked.

"That was done by yourself and other experts.

"With all that expertise there was no cause of death able to be established?"

Dr Milne agree with all three statements.

Dentistry expert Alexander Forrest said there was no test to determine the age of a chipped tooth in Allison's mouth.

"All I could say is that edges to the chip to the tooth was sharp," he said.

"And it wasn't loose so couldn't say whether it had suffered a blow."

No fractures found in the body, court told

SPECIALISTS could not find any fractures in Allison Baden-Clay's body after conducting a CT scan during a post-mortem examination.

Pathologist Nathan Milne said he reviewed the scans with a radiographer and there was no obvious cause of death but he did identify a bruise on her inner left chest.

He said the red discoloration seen during an internal examination could have been from a blunt force injury - either something impacting on the body or the body impacting with something, such as the ground.

"It was probably a bruise. I can't exclude it's a post mortem effect though," he said.

"Given there was no rib fracture, I would call that a mild force injury.

"It was about 5cm in size and round to oval shape.

"It was on the left front of the chest."

Dr Milne said there were no definite injuries on Allison's body but post mortem changes limited his examination.

He said the putrefaction and mummification decomposition changed the colour the skin which could obscure injuries.

Dr Milner said there could also be head injuries where insects or animals had eaten to the soft tissue skin.

He said insects were attracted to the face area so the soft tissue decomposition could be purely insect activity or the site of an injury.

Dr Milne said the soft tissue damage to the left chin was atypical for insects.

"It's likely there was some sort of injury there," he said.

"That's an injury that could have occurred before death or after death."

Dr Milne said putrefaction was a normal decomposition process where the body goes moist, the tissues go soft and the body changes colour.

He said mummification was a little different, occurring when there is a drier environment.

Dr Milne said Allison's body showed signs of both, with some parts on the mud and other parts exposed.

He said it was hard to tell how long she had been there but the decomposition could be consistent with someone who went missing and died 11 days prior.

"It may not have been that long," he said.

"There's huge variability in changes to a body after death."

Dr Milne said the body was so decomposed that visual identification was not possible.

He said if drowning was the cause of death, he would not be able to tell because of the state of decomposition.

Dr Milne said the hands showed no injuries but they were already decomposing and the fingernails had all detached.

He said he was able to find four fingernails within the jumper.

Fingernail experts are expected to give evidence to say scratches on Gerard Baden-Clay's face the day he reported his wife missing are consistent with fingernail scratches.

Allison Baden-Clay.
Allison Baden-Clay.

Officer hurt trying to reach Allison's body

A POLICE officer needed surgery after injuring his shoulder trying to reach Allison Baden-Clay's body.

Senior Constable Ashley Huth said there were steep banks along the section of Kholo Creek where she was found on April 30, 2012.

He said she was 0.6m below the bottom of the concrete bridge pillar and it was easy to get into trouble trying to lower than the concrete structure.

Sen Const Huth said the injured officer was wearing police issue boots - high cut with laces and a distinctive thick tread like hiking boots.

But he said he had repelled down from the bridge to inspect the body.

Sen Const Huth said he was wearing gumboots and the mud reached the top of them, noting officers had churned the mud up during their body examination.

Police scientist Sergeant Nicole Tysoe said she removed three-quarter pants, singlet top, socks, sneakers and a jumper that was wrapped around her head and neck area.

She said she also took botanical material - such as twigs and leaves - she found in Allison's hair, arms and jumper.

Sgt Tysoe said she transferred those items into glass bottles with ethanol to preserve them for a botanist to further examine.

She said she also removed two rings from her wedding finger - a solitaire diamond and a plain wedding band with an inscription inside.

Gerard Baden-Clay
Gerard Baden-Clay

Gerard Baden Clay's battle to keep his wife and lover apart

MURDER accused Gerard Baden-Clay had been able to keep his wife and his mistress apart for three years.

The first time those two parts of his life collided, there had been significant fallout with his wife Allison.

He had to end his affair with Toni McHugh, he had to fire her from his real estate agency at Taringa and his wife had come to work with him.

The day Mr Baden-Clay reported his wife Allison missing - April 20, 2012 - the two women were about to cross paths again at a real estate conference in Brisbane.

The 43-year-old, wearing a wedding ring in court, has pleaded not guilty in Brisbane Supreme Court to murdering Allison, who was found 10 days later under a bridge at Kholo Creek.

Forensic experts could not determine a cause of death due to decomposition but the Crown says she died at the hands of her husband and not from natural causes.

Prosecutor Todd Fuller said the crown case was circumstantial but outlined the financial and relationship pressure Mr Baden-Clay faced at the time.

"He wanted to leave his wife and be with Toni McHugh," he said.

"Although on the other hand he was saying he wanted his marriage to work.

"The body was taken to Kholo Creek to hide the truth and for the elements to take its hold.

"Plant samples recovered from the body tell us, the Crown says, something happened at their Brookfield home, such that some of those plant samples became entwined in Allison Baden-Clay's hair before she was transferred to Kholo Creek.

"The blood in the car tells us the car was used to transport her to Kholo Creek ... (and) suggests Allison Baden-Clay had an injury of some sort at the time she was in the back of that vehicle.

"The scratches to his face show us an injury consistent with fingers, Allison Baden-Clay's mark upon him."

The court heard the Baden-Clays had a $74,000 net asset position and their real estate business was struggling after the Brisbane floods.

DAY ONE OF GERARD BADEN-CLAY'S MURDER TRIAL

Mr Fuller said Mr Baden-Clay had sourced $90,000 loans from three friends to buy out his partners in the business but then could not meet the interest payments.

He said Mr Baden-Clay had approached Moggil MP Bruce Flegg, who he knew through the Chamber of Commerce, for a $400,000 loan.

Mr Baden-Clay rang Dr Flegg's friend Sue Heath and allegedly told her - while crying and distraught - that was his last option before he went broke or bankrupt.

Allison had two life insurance policies, one attached to superannuation.

Mr Baden-Clay told police he had ended his relationship with Ms McHugh, when his wife found out in 2011, but Ms McHugh told police they had resumed contact two months later.

He allegedly told her loved her and he was sorry.

Mr Fuller said the pair began making plans for the future and set July 1, 2012, as the day they would be together.

"I have given you a commitment and I intend to stick to it," he allegedly said in an email from an account with the name Bruce Overland.

Mr Fuller said Ms McHugh told Mr Baden-Clay in no uncertain terms, on the day he is accused of murdering his wife, that he must tell his wife they would both be at the same real estate conference the next day.

The trial continues.

Allison Baden-Clay.
Allison Baden-Clay. QT file image

The day Allison Baden-Clay died

IT began like any other Thursday in the lives of the Baden-Clay family.

Gerard and Allison were living in their raised rental home set back from the road at Brookfield.

There was a childcare centre on one side of the four-bedroom home and a church on the other.

Their three daughters - aged 10, eight and five at the time - were going to the nearby primary school.

Former Ipswich woman Allison, who was 43 when she died, had been married to Gerard, who went to school in Toowoomba, for almost 15 years.

She was the general manager of a real estate agency where her husband was the principal.

Allison also taught dance, took a resilience program at school and was dabbling in her own real estate ventures.

Gerard was head of the Kenmore Chamber of Commerce and both were active at the children's school.

Gerard's father Nigel had dropped around that morning of April 19 to collect signs for open homes and auctions that weekend.

He could not even remember if he saw his daughter-in-law that morning.

Gerard went into his real estate agency that morning and his wife Allison joined him after dropping their kids at school.

Allison went to a business meeting in the afternoon and was excited about implementing some new ideas.

She had a 4pm hairdresser appointment and was trying to organise to catch-up with a friend after a real estate conference in Brisbane the next day.

When the latter fell through, she was in contact with another friend to return a dress she had borrowed.

Gerard was with his sister Olivia Walton, who was visiting from Townsville, later in the day for a cross country carnival with the children at school.

Nigel collected the kids from school and took them to Kenmore for a swim.

Gerard joined them and then went to buy sausages for dinner.

The kids went to bed between 6.30pm and 7pm that evening.

None of them noticed anything unusual.

The eldest got up about 10 minutes later to get a drink and saw her mother watching television.

She said her dad was wearing his daggy shorts and clothes for bed.

Allison made arrangements for Olivia to look after the children the following night for a sleepover with friends.

She was the last person to speak to Allison.

 

The email trail of Gerard Baden-Clay's mistress

MISTRESS Toni McHugh deleted all texts and emails when she heard Allison was missing but police were able to recover their communication through an email account in the name Bruce Overland.

In one email to the Bruce Overland account in February, two months before Allison disappeared, Ms McHugh asked why she should believe anything had changed now their affair had resumed.

"Im sick of hiding … I'm sick of being second best and having to take the back seat … all so she doesn't find out," the email read.

"She gave you an ultimatum and you honoured it??? If I were to do the same tomorrow … I doubt you'd be able to pay me the same respect.

"Why should I accept anything less than she would?"

About two weeks before Allison was allegedly murdered, an email from the Bruce Overland account said: "I have given you a commitment and I intend to stick to it - I will be separated by 1 July".

Then on April 11, 2012, Mr Baden-Clay allegedly told his lover: "This is agony for me too. I love you."



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