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Gerard Baden-Clay Trial Live Coverage: Day 4, Week 2

Baden-Clay treated wife like a 'princess'

Gerard Baden-Clay's sister tells his murder trial on Monday that Allison Baden-Clay was "beautiful" but struggled with depression. Nine News

GBC judge

And with that, the court was adjourned for the day.

Ms McHugh will return to the witness box tomorrow morning.

GBC Defence

The court has heard at some stage after the affair ended, Ms McHugh started exploring employment options overseas and Mr Baden-Clay was very encouraging.

"I didn't want to be sitting at home waiting," she told the court.

"And it was apparent, I suggest, that he didn't want you sitting at home waiting either," Mr Byrne said.

"Maybe so," Ms McHugh replied.


Mr Byrne said: "He made it clear that he was moving on and you should move on."

"I guess so," Ms McHugh said.


"You were in love with him? And you tried to continue the relationship?" Mr Byrne asked.

"I did," Ms McHugh said.


"In 2011, when Allison found out, he was quite clear, wasn't he, that the relationship had to end? When it came to a choice on that occasion he chose Allison," Mr Byrne said.

"He did," Ms McHugh replied.

"And he said 'this has to stop, it's over'. Correct?" Mr Byrne asked.

Ms McHugh nodded.

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GBC Defence

Mr Byrne asked Ms McHugh whether her "up and down" relationship with his client had changed in nature in its 2012.

"I was asked to believe that they'd changed," she said.

Mr Byrne asked: "One constant throughout this period is that he was never ever, disrespectful towards Allison, he always expressed respect towards her, is that correct?"

Ms McHugh replied: "Well the affair was disrespectful." 

Allison Baden-Clay.
Allison Baden-Clay. Photo: Supplied

Mr Fuller has finished questioning Ms McHugh.

She will now be cross-examined by Mr Baden-Clay's defence barrister Michael Byrne QC.

Gerard Baden-Clay.
Gerard Baden-Clay. Photo: Supplied

Mr Fuller asked: "How did you react to the news that Allison was going?"

Ms McHugh replied: "I lost it. I went into a rage. [I said] 'well that doesn't really make sense for a business that's failing to send [two people to a conference]. 

"[I said] 'how could you put us in that situation, you need to tell her'."

Mr Fuller asked: "How did he respond to that?"

Ms McHugh replied: "He didn't really."

Mr Fuller: "How were you talking on the phone to him?"

Ms McHugh: "I was getting angry. I just, I just felt like I was being played again. So I asked, 'What is going on? You need to tell her, it's not fair that we're in the same room together, it's not fair on either of us, it wasn't an option for me not to attend, I'd only just started this new job'."

She said she pressed him about what he was going to do about their situation and he told her he was considering selling the business.

Ms McHugh said she then asked, "Are you going to that before you leave you wife or after you leave you wife?"

"Did he respond to that?" Mr Fuller asked.

"After," Ms McHugh said.

Mr Fuller: "Did you ask anything else of him that day?"

Ms McHugh: "I asked to be able to see him, so that I could ask all of the questions that I should have been asking ...

"He had to go because I could hear the girls at the car door."

Mr Fuller: "Did he respond to your request to see him?"

Ms McHugh: "No."


Ms McHugh said she learned Allison was missing the following day.

Some time later - between Allison's disappearance and Mr Baden-Clay's arrest - the lovers met in a block of studio apartments in Fortitude Valley.

During their meeting Ms McHugh said Mr Baden-Clay told her she would "have to fall in love with someone else".


Ms McHugh said she spoke to Mr Baden-Clay over the phone that afternoon.

She was driving home along Coronation Drive at the time, while he was at the supermarket.

"He was in the supermarket getting some food for dinner to take over to his mum and dad's," Ms McHugh said.

She recalled telling Mr Baden-Clay that she was looking forward to attending a real estate conference the following day.

"I was really hoping that the property management conference was going to give me a little boost. [I said] 'the conference will be on tomorrow, it will be really great'. He said, 'well yeah, I've got to talk to you about that, two of my staff members are going'."

"That's what he said, 'two of my staff members are going'," Mr Fuller asked.

"Well I knew who those staff members were," Ms McHugh replied.

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"Let's move now to the 19th of April," Mr Fuller said.

"I had just started a new job," Ms McHugh replied.


The court has been shown an email sent from Toni McHugh to Gerard Baden-Clay on February 20, 2012:

"Well youll [sic] have to forgive me that I feel disappointed when this happens. I'm sick of hiding ... I'm sick of being second best and having to take the back seat ... all so she doesn't find out. Why should I believe things are going to be any different than the past. I shouldn't ... thats the reality. She gave you an ultimatum and you honoured it?? if [sic] I were to do the same tomorrow ... I doubt you'd be able to pay me the same respect. Why shoudl [sic] I accept anything less than she would? All I'm doing at the moment is pacifying you ****** Relationship!! thats = not fair G .."

Ms McHugh said she was angry at the time she wrote the email. 

"I was angry a lot," she said.


Ms McHugh said she and Mr Baden-Clay met some time later at a coffee shop in Kelvin Grove.

"We talked about not seeing each other anymore ... it was too hard," she said. 

"I questioned whether he was having doubts about being together. [I said] 'if you need to be with your wife, if that's the decision that you're making, make it, say it'," she said.

She said he replied: "I am leaving my wife, I am leaving my wife."

Ms McHugh said she pressed him further, asking 'When is it going to change?'

"[I said] 'I need to know when it's going to change'. He said, 'I'll be out of my marriage by 1 July'."

Toni McHugh.
Toni McHugh. Photo: Supplied

McHugh said Mr Baden-Clay ended all communication in the weeks after Allison discovered the affair. He did not respond to her emails, text messages or phone calls, except to say "I'm sorry".

However, some months later, Mr Baden-Clay contacted her and asked to meet for coffee.

"[He said] that he loved me and that one day he did want to come to me unconditionally," Ms McHugh said.

Mr Fuller asked: "Did he actually use the term unconditionally?"

"Yes," Ms McHugh replied.


Ms McHugh said Mr Baden-Clay ended her employment at the real estate agency as soon as Allison discovered the affair.

"We were in a sales meeting and Gerard got called away," she said.

Ms McHugh said she asked about Mr Baden-Clay's whereabouts once the meeting ended and was told "one of the girls is not well".

"I rang to see if everything was OK. He said, 'we need to talk, she knows'," Ms McHugh said.

She said Mr Baden-Clay told her that Allison was aware of the affair.

Mrs Baden-Clay had been told by someone at the school canteen, who was connected to Mr Baden-Clay's former business partner in the agency Phil Broome.

"I was angry that Phil had ... I was so angry that that information became public by someone that we'd both trusted," Ms McHugh told the court.

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Toni McHugh became emotional as she told the court she and Gerard Baden-Clay often spoke about their future together.

"It was up and down all the time, year after year. Yes, there would be discussions about having a future," she said, unable to hold back tears.

Crown prosecutor Todd Fuller QC asked: "What did he tell you about his relationship with his wife?"

Ms McHugh replied: "Gerard was very adamant that he didn't have a relationship with his wife, that he didn't love his wife, but at the same time he was never ever disrespectful, or callous, or spiteful, hurtful."

"Was there any discussion about him leaving his wife?" Mr Fuller asked.

Ms McHugh replied: "Yes Gerard was very fearful of Allison not being able to manage the pressure of a divorce. He had voiced concerns about her mental strength ... I was very aware of Allison's depression from day one, when Gerard told us all about her illness, but he was very concerned that she wouldn't handle it and [how] that would impact on the girls.''

She said at times Mr Baden-Clay said, "Nothing's going to change, this is the way it is."

"Then months later ... we were at a conference and he was talking about what sort of car we were going to have ... and then it would swing the other way.

"It was a roller coaster."

Allison Baden-Clay, her husband Gerard Baden-Clay and his ex-mistress Toni McHugh.
Allison Baden-Clay, her husband Gerard Baden-Clay and his ex-mistress Toni McHugh. 

Ms McHugh said she developed a friendship with another sales agent Jocelyn Frost, who subsequently learned about the affair.

She said she occasionally exchanged "pleasantries" with Allison Baden-Clay when she would visit the office and also saw her at several work-related functions.

"I had a function at my Bellbowrie home," she said.


Ms McHugh said she separated from her partner of 17 years in 2009, as her relationship with Mr Baden-Clay grew stronger.

She said the pair saw each other about four times a week, but rarely on weekends.

Mr Baden-Clay often visited Ms McHugh at her home in Bellbowrie and then at her St Lucia unit.

On at least two occasions, she visited his home.


Ms McHugh said she was not aware of how the real estate agency was functioning "in a big picture way" during her employment there.

"I was finding that I was successful ... morale in the team was very strong," she said.

"I enjoyed the energy, I guess the challenge."

Crown prosecutor Todd Fuller QC asked: "Where did that energy come from?"

Ms McHugh replied: "From Gerard."

Mr Fuller asked: "In what way?"

Ms McHugh replied: "He was excellent at motivating people ... at enhancing a team atmosphere. I'd admired him, I admired his drive, I admired his ability to be able to really make people feel that they had something to contribute and that they were going to do well. He was an excellent teacher and I felt that I had a basis to work in real estate."

Mr Fuller asked: "Did your relationship change with him at some stage?"

"Yes it did," Ms McHugh said.

"I guess we became closer as friends, yeah, we became closer as friends."

She said their affair began in August 2008.

Gerard-Baden Clay
Gerard-Baden Clay Photo: Michelle Smith
Gerard Baden-Clay's former mistress Toni McHugh.
Gerard Baden-Clay's former mistress Toni McHugh. Photo: Supplied

A softly spoken Ms McHugh is explaining that she was hired at Mr Baden-Clay's real estate agency Century 21 Westside in 2007.

She said she met Mr Baden-Clay when she engaged him to sell her block of land about two years before joining the agency.

Ms McHugh said she accepted the job with Mr Baden-Clay after a long-term teaching contract came to an end.

"I saw it as a time to take a few risks and step into a sales role," she said.

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