Moment alleged killer dumped schoolgirl’s body by river

Jurors will return on Tuesday to consider whether Justin Stein murdered Charlise Mutten.

Jurors will return on Tuesday to consider whether Justin Stein murdered Charlise Mutten. Photo: AAP

The man accused of killing Charlise Mutten said he knew dumping the schoolgirl’s body in a barrel by a river would “catch up” to him.

Justin Stein, 34, has pleaded not guilty to murdering nine-year-old Charlise in January 2022, claiming it was the girl’s mother, Kallista Mutten, who shot her.

At the time Mutten was in a relationship with Stein and the pair had discussed plans to get married, the court heard.

Charlise’s body was found dumped in a barrel by the Colo River, north-west of Sydney, four days after she was reported missing, with two gunshot wounds.

Stein said during his evidence in the NSW Supreme Court on Monday, that he vomited when he found the girl’s body in a barrel on the back of his ute, before panicking and driving around aimlessly for several hours.

Footage captured Stein on January 13 towing a boat with the barrel, and purchasing bags of sand from Bunnings that was later found alongside Charlise’s body.

But Stein claims he did not know the girl’s body was on the vehicle until later, and that he initially purchased the sand to resurface underneath a patio.

After claiming to have seen Mutten shoot Charlise the night before, Stein said she called him while he was out driving and told him Charlise was with him, and that he was the only one who could find her.

“I didn’t really think anything of it at the time,” Stein said.

He said later the barrel came loose and he pulled over to check on it, which is when he says he discovered the girl’s body.

After several hours driving to locations across Sydney including boat ramps, phone data that would later be used by police to locate Charlise’s body, showed Stein stop briefly on a remote road by the Colo River.

“I just stopped the car, I hopped out, pulled the barrel off the ute, and I dumped the sand in it, and then I pushed it off the side of the road,” Stein told the court.

The previous night he had been working on his car in a shed, he told court, when he says he heard a gunshot and Charlise call his name.

“I went outside the shed … that’s when I heard Charlise screaming, ‘mummy, no’, and then bang, there was a second gunshot,” Stein said.

I said, “what the f— have you done,” Stein told the court.

Stein said Mutten repeatedly screamed at him, “you did this” and pointed the weapon at him, telling him to get a tarp from the shed.

When he returned from getting a tarp, Stein said both Mutten and Charlise were gone.

Stein said he returned to the house where he rolled a joint in an attempt to calm himself down.

“I eventually stopped crying, I smoked that joint,” Stein said.

Stein said he didn’t see Mutten again until the next day, when she left the property in his car, prompting him to report the vehicle as stolen to police.

Despite two officers attending the property that day, Stein didn’t tell them anything about what he claims had happened to Charlise.

Stein also admitted lying to police in two interviews on January 14, but says it was Mutten’s idea to tell officers he had left Charlise in the care of a woman who was valuing items at the Mount Wilson property.

“I knew dumping that barrel would catch up with me so I just went along with Kallista’s story,” Stein said.

The trial continues.


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