Brisbane mother Allison Baden-Clay seemed “fine and happy” as she dropped her children at school on the day she disappeared, a court has heard.
Ten days later, the 43-year-old’s decomposing body was found on the muddied banks of Kholo Creek, about 14 kilometres from her Brookfield home.
Her husband, Gerard Baden-Clay, currently stands trial in Brisbane’s Supreme Court charged with his wife’s murder. The former real estate agent has pleaded not guilty.
The trial heard from Mrs Baden-Clay’s close friend Fiona Christ on Wednesday.
Mrs Christ spoke with Mrs Baden-Clay as the pair dropped their children at school on April 19, 2012.
The women discussed the upcoming school Mothers’ Day stall and a sleepover which had been planned for their children the following night.
Mrs Baden-Clay also told Mrs Christ about the birth of her new nephew.
“She was very excited about that,” Mrs Christ told the jury.
“She seemed fine and she seemed happy.”
Mrs Christ said Mrs Baden-Clay had fulfilled her dream of opening her own ballet school.
“The ballet school was a dream of Allison’s … and she initiated that through the Brookfield State School Hall and would do that after school once a week,” Mrs Christ said.
She described her friend, with whom she had celebrated the births of her children, as well as Christmases, family holidays and other special occasions, as a doting mother.
“Allison loved her children dearly. She wanted the best for them and she was a very nurturing and caring mum,” Mrs Christ said.
Under cross-examination from Mr Baden-Clay’s defence counsel Michael Byrne, QC, Mrs Christ told the court she was aware that her friend had suffered depression since the birth of her first daughter in 2001.
“Gerard stayed at home for a long period around that time to be with Allison and support her," Mrs Christ said.
“She struggled with depression."
Mrs Christ agreed Mrs Baden-Clay had attributed the onset of her symptoms of depression to anti-malaria tablets she had taken while on honeymoon with Mr Baden-Clay.
She recalled that Mrs Baden-Clay was due to take her eldest children to a school camp, about 40 minutes from Brookfield, in late 2011.
“Al had organised to take my two children and her two children to the camp. In the days leading up to that Allison contacted me to say that she wasn’t feeling well enough to take the children … She said to me she couldn’t go because she was taking anti-depressants and it was making her feel nauseous and dizzy, so she couldn’t physically drive the children,” Mrs Christ said.
Mr Byrne reminded Mrs Christ that she had discussed the birth of Mrs Baden-Clay’s new nephew on April 19.
“Were you aware that Allison had desperately wanted a male child?” Mr Byrne asked.
“We hadn’t discussed that,” Mrs Christ replied.
Earlier, the court heard from forensic pathologist Dr Nathan Milne, who examined Mrs Baden-Clay’s body.
Dr Milne had taken notes from Mrs Baden-Clay’s medical records before carrying out his post-mortem examination.
He said he noted that Mrs Baden-Clay had been diagnosed with depression and was prone to anxiety, as well as transient suicidal thoughts.
The trial before Justice John Byrne continues.
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