Stepfather's 'callous deceit'
Jun 11 2003
By Vicky Shaw, PA News
A factory worker accused of murdering his stepdaughter and burying her in a shallow grave ate a SIM card from a secret mobile he used to send text messages to her mother, pretending the teenager was still alive, a court heard today. Michael Baldwin, 36, denies murdering his 15-year-old stepdaughter Jenna between September 3 and September 11, 2002. Baldwin, of Lime Kiln Road, Pontnewynydd, Pontypool, South Wales, "tortured" Jenna's mother Desiree to deflect suspicion from himself and feigned distress at Jenna's disappearance, it was alleged.
Cardiff Crown Court heard that "callous and cynical" Baldwin, a brown belt in judo, took part in appeals for Jenna's return and even phoned his 10-year-old son Josh pretending to be her.
But Baldwin, who was ridiculed by Jenna for his baldness, was later arrested when police became suspicious and after being charged with murder took them to where he had buried her, the jury was told. Prosecutor David Aubrey QC told how Baldwin was monitored by covert surveillance and was spotted buying a mobile phone in secret from a branch of Woolworth's, which he registered giving false details. Mr Aubrey said the fact that police told Baldwin they were treating Jenna's disappearance as a murder investigation was the "catalyst" for him sending text messages from the mobile to his wife.
The court heard that Baldwin used nicknames between Jenna and her mother such as "Queen Bee" in messages and personal knowledge of the family to try and prove the messages were from the dead girl. Other messages to Jenna's mother said: "I love you". Mr Aubrey said that in one message, Baldwin said: "Mam, the police are not very good are they? "Don't be worried, I'm ok, I saw it on tv. Tell the police to leave me alone, I'm ok." Mr Aubrey said: "This was not the defendant trying to reassure Desiree Baldwin that her daughter had simply run off. "It was Baldwin saying on his own behalf: 'Tell the police to leave me alone'. "They were getting too close to him." Mr Aubrey said: "This is a man who is covering up what he had done and that is to murder this girl. "That is why he did not try to resuscitate her, call an ambulance or call the police. "That is why he buried her in a secret place. That is why he tried to deflect the attentions of his wife and even more importantly the police."
Baldwin was arrested on October 29 last year and in the police station a chewed up SIM card that Baldwin had passed through his body was recovered, Mr Aubrey said. The phone bought in Woolworth's was recovered in Baldwin's home and the SIM card was missing from it, Mr Aubrey said. The prosecutor said that during earlier appeals for Jenna's return, Baldwin, knowing that Jenna was dead, had remarked to journalist Anna Humphries: "Bloody teenager, she has always been trouble, causing problems in school." The court heard that he added: "It's much quieter now she is not here. "She really used to wind me up. Look what she's putting her mother through." Mr Aubrey said that although Baldwin tried to paint himself as easy-going, a recorded phone call in October last year heard Baldwin shouting: "Get in there before I hit you in the pissing head. Cor, they're winding me up, I could kill the cows in a minute."
Mr Aubrey told the jury that on one occasion in September Baldwin created a mess in the family home, putting clothes and makeup on the floor to pretend Jenna had returned home, washed, changed and left the house. He said a jacket which Jenna hated wearing had been taken from the house, but no item of sentimental value to her was missing. The prosecutor said Baldwin lied to an education and welfare officer that Jenna had been home on September 10 and had been with a red-haired girl. Mr Aubrey told the jury that in September last year Baldwin's Ford Fiesta car was seen with a duvet in the rear and appeared to have something inside it. He said at a local site known as Keeper's Pond, two young girls had noticed a white training shoe, blood spotting and what appeared to be surgical plastic gloves. Mr Aubrey asked: "Was Jenna there with the defendant?" He said that also in September a man was seen in the area where Jenna's body was found watching oncoming traffic, with a hatchback car in the layby. Another witness who was travelling from Abergavenny to Pontypool saw a man in a layby carrying a shovel, Mr Aubrey said.
Mr Aubrey said Baldwin tried to distance himself from that car and bought another car on September 14. The trial continues.
Edited by - kungfoolss on June 12 2003 02:19:20
Never trust a Welsh Judoka.
Never trust the damn Welsh.
"When we go to the ground, you are in my world. The ground is the ocean, I am the shark, and most people don't even know how to swim." RCJ Machado
This has less to do with MA than that case with that crazy Aussie who stomps guys to death over french, er I mean freedom fries.
I'm a firm believer in luck. I find the harder I work, the more I have of it. - Thomas Jefferson