News State QLD News Baden-Clay had ‘other affairs’

Baden-Clay had ‘other affairs’

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Accused wife killer Gerard Baden-Clay’s former mistress says he had affairs with at least two other women, and one occurred while they were in a relationship.

Real estate worker Toni McHugh on Tuesday returned to the witness box in the Supreme Court in Brisbane where the murder trial of Baden-Clay, 43, has entered its fifth day.

On Monday she detailed her rollercoaster three-and-a-half year affair with former real estate agent Baden-Clay, which ended when his wife Allison Baden-Clay vanished in April 2012 and was found dead ten days later.

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Being re-examined by Crown prosecutor Todd Fuller, Ms McHugh said Baden-Clay had told her about affairs with two other women in a conversation in December 2011.

At the time the father of three had just rekindled his relationship with Ms McHugh, a real estate worker, after a break of several months.

“He said there are some things I need to one day tell you,” Ms McHugh said, adding he was referring to the affairs with two other women.

She said one of the affairs occurred when they weren’t seeing each other, but the other had happened during their secret relationship.

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Baden-Clay told her it happened when he went to a real estate conference in Sydney with other sales members from his real estate practice, and the affair happened with another woman at the conference.

The first day of the conference Baden-Clay talked her into travelling to see him in Sydney, Ms McHugh said.

“My understanding was that it happened the day before,” she said.

Earlier, a teary Ms McHugh insisted under cross examination that in early 2012 she believed Baden-Clay would leave his marriage for her.

Defence barrister Michael Byrne said Baden-Clay had been promising to leave his wife for years and had never acted on it.

“I wasn’t expecting it to happen in days,” she said.

“One day you expected it?,” Mr Byrne asked.

“Yes, one day I did expect it to happen,” she replied.

Allison Baden-Clay’s body was found on a creek bank in Anstead in Brisbane’s west on April 30, 2012, ten days after her husband reported her missing from their nearby home.

Baden-Clay has pleaded not guilty to murder.

The court was later told Allison Baden-Clay complained to a GP about bad mood swings a month before she vanished.

Dr Nicholas Bourke said he first saw the mother of three in May 2011.

He said she had complained of feelings of guilt, anxiety, worry, low mood and teariness, so he prescribed the anti-depressant Zoloft.

Three months later he performed a mental health assessment after his patient said she suspected her husband was having an affair.

Mrs Baden-Clay received a score of 18 of 50, with 50 being the highest level of distress.

“My conclusion was there wasn’t a significant level of distress,” Dr Bourke told the court, later adding that his overall opinion was that his patient wasn’t a high risk of suicide.

Dr Bourke said Mrs Baden-Clay returned in October saying her suspicion about her husband had been confirmed and he doubled her dose of medication.

She returned to the practice a final time on March 19, 2012 – a month before she vanished – for a routine cancer screening test, and complained of bad pre-menstrual mood swings.

Dr Bourke said a colleague treated Mrs Baden-Clay that day and she left with the same, higher-level prescription of anti-depressants.

A psychologist who saw Baden-Clay three times in 2010 and 2011 for marriage counselling at his wife’s request also gave evidence.

Dr Lawrence Lumsden said Baden-Clay explored “options” for the long-term future of the marriage but things were put on the backburner when the January 2011 floods occurred.

Another psychologist who saw the couple several times in late 2011 said Baden-Clay had wanted to fix the relationship.

Giving evidence by telephone, Rosamund Nutting said Baden-Clay said during one counselling session “my actions are not who I am” and “I am the problem”.

“He said he wanted to fix it,” Ms Nutting said while referring to notes she took during the meetings.

In a later session in November 2011, Mrs Baden-Clay looked “fragile” and less positive about the relationship, Ms Nutting said.

The psychologist said she noted the mother of three was traumatised after learning her husband was having an affair and thought “she wasn’t good enough for Gerard” but desperately wanted to save the marriage.

However Ms Nutting said she didn’t think Mrs Baden-Clay was suicidal.

“No … had I picked up on that I would have contacted her doctor,” she said.