Court told of moment alleged killer dumped body of New South Wales schoolgirl

Court told of moment alleged killer dumped body of New South Wales schoolgirl

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

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

At the time, Mutten was in a relationship with Stein and the couple had discussed plans to marry, the court heard.

Charlise’s body was found dumped in a barrel next to the Colo River, northwest of Sydney, four days after she disappeared, with two gunshot wounds.

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

Footage captured Stein on January 13 towing a boat with the barrel and purchasing bags of sand from Bunnings which were later found next to Charlise’s body.

But Stein claims he didn’t know the girl’s body was in the vehicle until later, and that he initially bought the sand to line it under a patio.

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

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

Justin Laurens Stein.

He later said the cannon came loose and he stopped to check it, which is when he discovered the girl’s body.

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

“I just stopped the car, jumped out, pulled the barrel out of the ute, threw the sand on it and then pushed it off the road,” Stein told the court.

The night before he had been working on his car in a shed, he told the court, when he heard a gunshot and Charlise called his name.

“I came out of the shed…that’s when I heard Charlise scream, ‘Mom, no,’ and then bang, there was a second gunshot,” Stein said.

“I said, ‘What the fuck have you done?'” Stein told the court.

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

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

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

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

Stein said he did not see Mutten again until the next day, when she left the property in her car, prompting him to report the vehicle stolen to police.

Although two officers attended the property that day, Stein did not tell them anything about what he claims had happened to Charlise.

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

“I knew dropping that barrel would catch up with me, so I followed Kallista’s story,” Stein said.

The trial continues.