Mum of slain schoolgirl says alleged killer bashed her

Kallista Mutten says she was bashed by her daughter's accused killer after the girl went missing.

Kallista Mutten says she was bashed by her daughter's accused killer after the girl went missing. Photo: AAP

Accused murderer Justin Stein bashed the mother of then-missing schoolgirl Charlise Mutten and told her not to call police or the girl’s kidnappers would kill her, a court has heard.

The body of nine-year-old Charlise was found by police in a barrel by the Blue Mountains’ Colo River on January 18, 2022, with gunshot wounds to her face and back.

Stein, 33, has pleaded not guilty to the murder and he stands trial in the NSW Supreme Court.

He claims it was Charlise’s mother, Kallista Mutten, who shot the girl.

Mutten appeared in the witness box for the first time on Monday as the trial entered its third week.

She told the court that on January 12 – on or about the day prosecutors allege Stein committed the murder – he told her Charlise was sick and that he had left her in the care of a woman who was valuing antique items at the Mount Wilson property where they were staying.

Thinking her daughter was being taken care of, Mutten said she went with Stein to Sydney where they bought and both injected methamphetamine.

The next day, when there was no sign of the auctioneer or her daughter, Mutten said she and Stein argued. She left the property in his car, prompting him to report the vehicle stolen to police.

Mutten said she returned to the property between half an hour and an hour later and tried to hide from Stein in a shed.

“He found me and grabbed me and pushed me to the ground and started kicking into me and hitting me and grabbing my shoulders and my clothes and shaking me,” the emotional woman told the court.

“I remember just yelling … ‘just stop, because I just want my daughter’.”

Mutten said she was left with bruising to her arms and scrape marks across her chest.

Stein later said the “auctioneer” he left Charlise with might not have been who he thought she was, and that the girl’s disappearance could be linked to “ex-affiliations” from his criminal past, Mutten told the court.

“I said, ‘we should go to police’,” she said through tears.

“He said, ‘no, because if you ring the police they will kill her’.”

Stein said he would look for the girl himself, leaving the property towing a boat behind his ute, Mutten said.

He explained he was taking the boat because “if s— goes down and people get hurt or anything happens he’s gonna probably try to get rid of some evidence”, she added.

Prosecutors allege Stein transported Charlise’s body in the barrel on the back of his ute and spent hours travelling to boat ramps across Sydney before returning to the Blue Mountains, where he allegedly dumped the barrel.

Mutten earlier told the court at the time of her daughter’s disappearance she had hopes of marrying Stein.

The schoolgirl, who lived with her grandparents on the Gold Coast, was visiting her mother and Stein over Christmas at the time of her death.

The group spent their time during the visit between the Mount Wilson property and a caravan at the Riviera Ski Park, about a 90-minute drive away.

Mutten said during the visit Charlise referred to Stein as “dad” or “daddy”.

On January 11, Mutten said Charlise travelled with Stein to Mount Wilson while she remained at the caravan park.

Stein told her he needed to travel back to Mount Wilson to meet the auctioneer, who was due to attend the property the next day to value some items, she said.

Mutten said Charlise had asked her, “Can I go with daddy, mum?”

“I said, ‘yes of course’,” the mother said.

The trial continues.


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