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NSW: Man blamed wife after arrest for daughter's murder: court

By Graham Storer
27 May 2009 6:17 PM

SYDNEY, May 27 AAP - After a couple were arrested for the murder of their seven-year-old daughter, the man allegedly pointed to his wife and told police: "It was her, all her fault".

The 47-year-old man and his 35-year-old wife, who cannot be named for legal reasons, have denied murdering the child through starvation and dehydration.

The girl's emaciated body was found in the family's Hawks Nest home, north of Newcastle, on November 3, 2007, with a paediatrician on Wednesday struggling to describe the child's condition.

"(There was) no likeness of the child I knew. This was extreme, so extreme I can't describe it," Dr Dimitri Tzioumi said at the parents' trial in the NSW Supreme Court.

The jury was told that the night before their November 17, 2007, arrest at Albion Park railway station, south of Wollongong, the couple stayed at a motel under an assumed name.

At the time of his arrest, the man allegedly had five $50 notes and 40 $100 notes in his wallet, for a total of $4,250 cash. His wife was said to be carrying $142.75.

Constable Paul Hewitson told the jury a search of their bags revealed a framed wedding certificate, three mobile phones, four Centrelink health cards, four Centrelink pensioner concession cards, 14 prescriptions in their names and large quantities of prescription and non-prescription drugs.

Const Hewitson said that after strip searching him at Port Kembla Police Station, the man had said: "It was her, all her fault".

"And he pointed back to the dock area where the female accused was," he told Crown prosecutor Peter Barnett SC.

Earlier on Wednesday, Dr Tzioumi told the court the little girl had periods of significant growth, but did not grow well when she was not seeing doctors regularly.

She treated the girl at Sydney Children's Hospital in Randwick in 2002 and said if she had continued growing in line with the growth percentile scale, she would have weighed 26kg in November 2007.

The court was previously told the girl weighed just 9kg when she died.

Dr Tzioumi said she had seen a video of the girl taken at the morgue in Newcastle after her death.

"She was severely wasted, or emaciated," she told the court.

The trial before Justice Robert Allan Hulme, sitting in East Maitland, continues.