Former prestige real estate agent Gerard Baden-Clay requested a $300,000 loan from Queensland state MP Bruce Flegg in the months before his wife disappeared, a court has heard.
Mr Baden-Clay has pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife at their home in the leafy western Brisbane suburb of Brookfield on April 19, 2012.
Sue Health, a close friend of Dr Flegg, told the Supreme Court in Brisbane on Thursday she phoned Mr Baden-Clay in March 2012 at the request of the Moggill MP.
Ms Heath said Mr Baden-Clay sounded “distressed” as he asked for a sizeable loan.
“Gerard said he was having financial trouble and he wanted to know if Bruce could lend him some money,” she said.
“He was distressed, you just could just tell in his voice. He was normally very confident and he was genuinely quite distressed. I felt really quite sad for him.
“He said if he didn't get it [the money] … he would go broke or bankrupt.
“I just felt really sad, because they seemed so successful.”
Ms Heath said she would pass on Mr Baden-Clay’s request to Dr Flegg, although she warned him she did not think the politician “had that kind of money”.
“I remember thinking it was very serious and if we could help, we should,” Ms Heath said.
She said Mr Baden-Clay responded well, noting he had “impeccable manners”.
The court also heard Ms Heath spoke over the phone to Dr Flegg at 10.53pm on April 19, 2012.
Dr Flegg was at his home in Brookfield at the time.
Ms Heath said Dr Flegg interrupted their conversation, saying he thought he heard a scream.
Ms Heath did not hear the scream.
Earlier, the court heard from forensic medical officer Dr Leslie Griffiths, who examined Mr Baden-Clay at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital on April 22, 2012.
Dr Griffiths said he was asked to document the injuries on Mr Baden-Clay’s face, upper chest and right armpit.
He said the injuries on Mr Baden-Clay's face appeared to be "abrasions" rather than "cuts".
"What I have described to the court is an abrasion, not a cut," Dr Griffiths said, referring to a photograph of the injuries.
"They could be caused by a human scratch ... by fingernail scratches.
"They resemble scratch marks."
Mr Baden-Clay said he cut himself shaving on the morning he reported his wife missing, after police questioned the marks on his face.
Dr Griffiths said it was "highly improbable" that a "modern razor" would cause an abrasion of the type Mr Baden-Clay presented with.
Referencing his own experience shaving Dr Griffiths said: "I've never seen an injury like that in my own experience personally.”
However, Dr Griffths said there could be other explanations for Mr Baden-Clay’s injuries.
He said the scratches appeared to be “at least 48 hours old” at the time he examined them, but noted the science of ageing injuries was imprecise.
Another forensic medical expert Dr Robert Hoskins also told the court the injuries on Mr Baden-Clay’s face were “characteristic of fingernail scratches”.
But he added: “The fact that they have all the characteristics of fingernail scratches, doesn't mean that they are fingernail scratches.”
Dr Hoskins also examined photographs of the razor with which Mr Baden-Clay claimed to have cut himself.
“I'm confident that the injuries were not caused by the razor photographed.”
The prosecution has alleged Mr Baden-Clay was under extreme financial stress and unable to repay loans of tens of thousands of dollars to friends and family at the time his wife disappeared.
The court has heard he was also embroiled in an illicit affair with his long-time mistress Toni McHugh, whom he had promised to be with “unconditionally” by July 1, 2012.
The trial continues.