Accused killer brags of crushing throat of mum, court hears
Warning: Distressing themes
MURDER accused Daniel James Holdom told a former partner that he crushed the windpipe of a young mother and dumped her body in the bush before taking her two-year-old daughter, suffocating her and leaving her body on the side of a highway, a court heard on Thursday.
Details of the suspected brutal death of the young woman, who for years remained unidentified and known only as the "Belanglo Angel", were revealed in court today when her accused killer, Daniel James Holdom, 42, was committed to stand trial for the murder of the 20-year-old and her daughter Khandalyce.
Holdom is accused of murdering Karlie Jade Pearce-Stevenson between December 14 and 15, 2008 and then killing two-year-old Khandalyce four days later, dumping her body in a suitcase 1200km away from her mother's remains in Wynarka, South Australia.
Crown Prosecutor Victoria Engel told Central Local Court after Holdom "stomped" on Ms Pearson-Stevenson, he took photos of her body as a "trophy".
It is alleged in the years after the young mum's death, Holdom withdrew $71,000 worth of Ms Pearce-Stevenson's Centrelink payments from her bank account.
Magistrate Les Mabbutt said on the Crown case Holdom killed the pair for a "financial motive, to kill Karlie and get access to her child".
Ms Pearson-Stevenson's remains were found on a fire trail in the Belanglo State Forest in NSW in 2010, but it was not until her daughter's body was found by the side of the road in South Australia in 2015 that she was identified.
At first the deaths were treated as unrelated until DNA testing proved they were mother and daughter.
The Crown case is Ms Pearce-Stevenson had left her home of Alice Springs with Khandalyce in 2008 and soon formed a romantic relationship with Holdom, whom she had known for several years.
The mother and daughter were in Holdom's company when they were last seen alive at a house in Charnwood in Canberra's northern suburbs.
Two housemates gave statements to police that Holdom and Ms Pearce-Stevenson had an argument on December 14, 2008 and left in her car, leaving Khandalyce behind.
Holdom returned alone the next day in Ms Pearce-Stevenson's car, which he traded in for a new vehicle, and then left Canberra for South Australia, taking Khandalyce.
It is the Crown case that Holdom travelled with Khandalyce to Wagga Wagga where he checked into a hotel with the child.
At Wagga Wagga, he made a purchase at Woolworths for dish cloths and duct tape.
The Crown case is that when he checked out of the hotel he was alone.
It is alleged that for years after her death, Holdom used Ms Pearce-Stevenson's credit and debit cards.
At one stage The Crown says he went to her bank with his partner at the time who allegedly pretended to be Ms Pearce-Stevenson so they could get a new credit card.
In 2009 Ms Pearce-Stevenson's mother Colleen Povey, who was living in Alice Springs, contacted the Northern Territory Police to report her daughter and granddaughter missing.
NT police contacted Holdom, who allegedly told them he had last seen the pair in February of that year.
After the missing person investigation began Ms Povey, who had been diagnosed with cancer, received calls and texts from her daughter's phone number.
The Crown case is that one of the phone calls was made near the home of Holdom's partner.
One message allegedly requested that Ms Povey send money so that her daughter and granddaughter could return to Alice Springs.
Mr Mabbutt said: "At the time (Ms Povey) was ill and clearly wanted to see her granddaughter. Money was deposited, $500, and the money was withdrawn."
Ms Povey died from cancer in 2012 before her daughter's remains were positively identified.
It is alleged Holdom admitted to two woman he had killed Ms Pearce-Stevenson and Khandalyce.
One woman, who was with Holdom for several years, told police "over time the accused revealed more details to eventually telling her that he'd … stomped on Ms Pearce-Stevenson's throat, crushed her windpipe and left her body beside a log".
"The accused told (the woman) he had killed Pearce by suffocating … and he'd thrown her body off the side of a highway," Mr Mabbutt said as he read the Crown statement.
She told police later she found photographs of Ms Pearce-Stevenson's body on his phone's memory card. She also found a picture of Khandalyce asleep in a car seat.
At the time she never reported her discoveries to police and only revealed it after Holdom was arrested and she was questioned.
Another woman made a diary entry in 2013 in which she noted that Holdom had confessed to her that he had murdered the mother and daughter.
Both women and three other witnesses have had their identities suppressed by court order.
Holdom represented himself in the proceedings after sacking his Legal Aid lawyer last week.
Mr Mabbutt asked him several question including if he wanted to say anything in relation to the charges, give evidence or call witnesses.
"No, your Honour," he said to each question.
Holdom will be arraigned in the NSW Supreme Court in October.