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Charlise Mutten’s murder trial told the heartbreaking nine words a schoolgirl told her grandfather about her alleged killer


The grandfather of Charlise Mutten, who was allegedly killed by her mother’s partner, told a court the schoolgirl hoped the man accused of shooting would be a «good dad».

Justin Laurens Stein, 33, is on trial in the NSW Supreme Court in Parramatta after pleading not guilty to murder.

He is accused of murdering a nine-year-old girl — the daughter of his ex-partner Kallista Mutten — on property owned by his parents and then placing her body in a plastic barrel in the Colo River area.

Charlise’s grandfather Clinton Mutten Snr, with whom she lived at the time, was the first witness to give evidence in the trial and told the court his granddaughter had shown potential at school.

Mr Mutten told the court Charlise lived with her mother for the first four years of her life before being informally taken into care by her grandparents.

«Kallista realized she wasn’t providing enough care and was quite happy for Charlise to come and live with us,» he told the court.

The grandfather of Charlise Mutten, who was allegedly shot dead by her mother’s partner, told a court the schoolgirl hoped her alleged killer would be a ‘good dad’.

Justin Laurens Stein, 33, faces trial in the NSW Supreme Court in Parramatta after pleading not guilty to murder

Justin Laurens Stein, 33, faces trial in the NSW Supreme Court in Parramatta after pleading not guilty to murder

The jury was told Ms Mutten had been using the drug ice or methylamphetamine since at least her 20s.

She later went to prison for dangerous driving causing the death of a passenger, where she met Stein, who was serving a sentence for drug supply, the jury was told.

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Mr Mutten told the jury Charlise excelled at school, loved reading and was «self-motivated» when it came to extracurricular activities.

He said Charlise loved animals and often talked about her dreams of becoming a vet during the two years they lived together.

During this time, Charlise had video calls with her mother, with Mr Mutton describing their relationship as «unconditional and very loving».

Mr Mutten told the court Charlise sometimes cried and said she missed her mother.

«She said she really liked Justin and asked me if I thought he would be a good dad,» Mr Mutten told the court.

He said Charlise was «excited» to travel to NSW to spend Christmas and the school holiday period with her mother, and he assumed neither his daughter nor Mr Stein were using drugs at the time.

Mr. Mutten remembered the last time he spoke to Charlise, a week before she died.

«While I was cooking and I was busy, she insisted on talking to me and showed me her new haircut,» he told the court.

“She was on FaceTime on her phone playing with a little white dog and she was on the Mount Wilson property.

“She was in a very good mood and happy… she told me she loved me.

Stein is accused of murdering a nine-year-old girl, who was the daughter of his ex-partner Kallista Mutten (pictured), on property owned by his parents before dumping her body.

Stein is accused of murdering a nine-year-old girl, who was the daughter of his ex-partner Kallista Mutten (pictured), on property owned by his parents before dumping her body.

The Crown prosecutor told the court Mr Stein told Ms Mutten and his mother he had gone to look for Charlis but was buying sand to weigh down her body.

The Crown prosecutor told the court Mr Stein told Ms Mutten and his mother he had gone to look for Charlis but was buying sand to weigh down her body.

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Stein is accused of shooting the nine-year-old girl twice, in the head and lower back, and dumping her body in a plastic barrel.

During opening arguments, the jury of five women and 10 men were told that Stein pretended to be looking for Charlis when he was actually trying to dispose of the girl’s body in January 2022.

Crown prosecutor Ken McKay SC says Stein was being treated for schizophrenia and heroin addiction and was «the last person» to see Charlis alive.

He said Stein told Ms Mutten and his mother he had gone looking for Charlis on January 13, but allegedly left Mount Wilson with the barrel under a tarp in the back of the ute, also towing his boat.

He went to Bunnings and allegedly bought five 20kg bags of sand, most of which were later found in the barrel containing the girl’s body, the jury was told.

With the girl’s body allegedly stuffed in a barrel in the ute, Mr. Stein stopped at 7/11 where he bought a can of Coke, Snickers and slush before pouring more than $120 worth of gas into the boat he was towing.

The nine-year-old was visiting her mother during the school holidays when she was killed and was missing for three days

The nine-year-old was visiting her mother during the school holidays when she was killed and was missing for three days

Mr. Stein later Googled

Mr. Stein later Googled «Colo River» and allegedly dumped the barrel containing the child’s body down the levee before returning to Mount Wilson at 4:22 a.m. on January 15.

The jury was told Mr Stein later Googled «Colo River» and allegedly dumped the barrel on the waterfront before returning to Mount Wilson at 4.22am on January 15.

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The barrel was found on Jan. 18 in some foliage along an embankment, and a subsequent toxicology report showed traces of Stein’s schizophrenia drug in Charlis’ system.

Defense lawyer Carolyn Davenport SC told the jury Stein had told ‘different versions’ of what happened to the child to protect his ex-partner.

«Charlise was killed … by her mother … near the chicken coop on the property,» Ms Davenport told the jury.

«He didn’t know what happened to the child, he disposed of the body…he didn’t put the body in a barrel, he disposed of it.»

The jury was told that Mrs Mutten would be a witness in the trial.

The trial before Judge Helen Wilson continues.



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