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Accused killer’s big claim on Bunnings call

Written by on May 22, 2024

Charlise Mutten’s alleged killer claimed he had no idea he was driving with the nine-year-old girl’s body in the back of his ute until he got a call while at Bunnings, a jury has been told.

Justin Stein, 33, is facing a trial in the NSW Supreme Court at Parramatta after pleading not guilty to murder, but has admitted to disposing of the schoolgirl’s body.

He is accused of murdering Charlise, who was the daughter of his former partner Kallista Mutten, at a property owned by his parents before dumping her body, which was concealed in a plastic barrel, near the Colo River area.

The girl was visiting her mother and Mr Stein during the school holidays, and spent her time in NSW split between Mr Stein’s family property at Mount Wilson, where she was allegedly shot and killed, and at a caravan park named the Riviera Ski Gardens in Lower Portland, about 1.5 hours away.

Calls between Mr Stein and his mother, made from prison in the weeks following the alleged murder, were played to the jury on Tuesday.

The jury heard his mother, Annemie Stein, question her son on why he was travelling with the barrel in the back of his Holden Colorado utility.

“Well, I didn’t even know, Kallista put it on the back of the ute,” he is heard saying in the recording, which was played to the jury.

Mr Stein claims he thought the barrel was in his car so he could do some work on another property.

In another call he repeats the claims, saying he “didn’t even think of it” when Ms Mutten put the barrel on the back of the ute.

“I’m literally at Bunnings and I get a phone call saying ‘you’ve got Charlise with you’, and I went ‘what’,” the jury heard Mr Stein say in the third phone call.

“Yeah … I was driving around with a f**king kid on the back of my ute.”

The jury later heard the phone call Mr Stein refers to while at Bunnings was an outgoing call from his phone to Ms Mutten.

Earlier in the trial, the jury was told Mr Stein had driven around Sydney for hours on the evening of January 13, 2022, into the early hours of the following morning with Charlise’s body in a barrel on the back of his ute.

Mr Stein drove to Marsden Park Bunnings where he is seen on CCTV purchasing five 20kg bags of sand.

Crown prosecutor Ken McKay told the jury when police later recovered the barrel with Charlise’s body, there was 99kg of sand inside.

When asked by his mother why he drove around Sydney for hours, Mr Stein said he “f**king panicked”.

He told Annemie that police had approached him asking where the murder weapon was and where Charlise had been killed

“They don’t even know anything,” the jury heard him say, before claiming Ms Mutten is “going to get charged for everything”.

He doubles down that “it’s the truth”, telling his mother the police have “nothing” and can’t “pin” him for the murder but he “saw it” happen.

Mr Stein then tells his mother Charlise wasn’t killed on the property, but on Crown land nearby.

“Behind the shed on the fire break … I’m guessing she ran down to me to the shed because the last thing she screamed was my name and then you heard ‘Mummy no’ and then the second gunshot,” Mr Stein said.

In the recording he tells his mother about Ms Mutten: “I don’t want contact, I want to cut her f**king head off”.

Prosecutors allege Charlise travelled to Mount Wilson from the caravan park alone with Mr Stein on the evening of January 11, 2022, while Ms Mutten stayed behind.

Mr McKay alleges Mr Stein was the “last person” to see Charlise and had the opportunity to her between 7.16pm on January 11 and 10.06am on January 12.

Charlise’s body was found in a barrel on an embankment near the Colo River four days after her mother reported her missing.

After his arrest in January 2022, Mr Stein denied killing Charlise in an interview with a Corrective Services officer but said “her mum shot her twice”, the jury heard.

“Her mum was on ice all week, I heard a shot and then I heard her screaming out for me, then I ran back and she shot her again,” he told the prison guard, the jury heard.

A toxicology report showed Charlise had tested positive for Mr Stein’s schizophrenia medication.

The trial continues before Justice Helen Wilson.

Read related topics:Bunnings