Eldest of three girls whose father Gerard Baden-Clay murdered their mum Allison graduates from uni

Eldest of three girls whose father Gerard Baden-Clay murdered their mum Allison graduates from uni 2
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The lookalike eldest daughter of Allison Baden-Clay is following in her murdered mother’s dance footsteps as she celebrates her university graduation – 10 years after her father’s heinous crime. 

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Hannah Baden-Clay has honoured Allison’s cherished years as an aspiring ballerina by completing a course in dance performance at the Queensland University of Technology.

The graceful 20-year-old posed in her graduation cap and gown with her sisters, Sarah, 18 and Ella, 15, who were left without a mother when their dad Gerard Baden-Clay took her life in April 2012.

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The three girls, brought up by their maternal grandparents Geoff and Priscilla Dickie,  marked the tenth anniversary last month of the murder of their ‘beautiful, loving, strong and courageous’ mother.

The girls’ father, who has been in custody in a Queensland prison since his arrest eight weeks after Allison’s death, could walk from jail in 2027 after serving just 15 years of his ‘life’ sentence. 

Hannah, Sarah and Ella were aged just 10, 8 and five when they went to live at the Dickies’ Ipswich home while their father faced trial in the Brisbane Supreme Court.

The three Baden-Clay sisters, Ella, 15, Hannah, 20, and Sarah, 18, celebrate Hannah's graduation from QUT with a dance performance degree, following in their late mother's footsteps

The three Baden-Clay sisters, Ella, 15, Hannah, 20, and Sarah, 18, celebrate Hannah’s graduation from QUT with a dance performance degree, following in their late mother’s footsteps 

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Ella, Sarah and Hannah Baden-Clay attend their mother's funeral in May, 2012, with their father Gerard who a month later would be charged with Allison's murder and put behind bars

Ella, Sarah and Hannah Baden-Clay attend their mother’s funeral in May, 2012, with their father Gerard who a month later would be charged with Allison’s murder and put behind bars

In April the Haden-Clay girls' grandparents, Priscilla and Geoff Dickie, marked the tenth anniversary since the murder of Allison by husband Gerard Baden-Clay (above the couple together)

In April the Haden-Clay girls’ grandparents, Priscilla and Geoff Dickie, marked the tenth anniversary since the murder of Allison by husband Gerard Baden-Clay (above the couple together)

The five-week 2016 trial heard how Gerard had plotted killing his wife to cash in on a life insurance policy and cement the relationship with his mistress Toni McHugh, who worked at his ailing real estate agency at Brookfield in western Brisbane.

A descendant of scouting movement founder Lord Robert-Baden-Powell, Gerard’s father Nigel was plain old Mr Clay in his native Zimbabwe but with wife Elaine and nine-year-old Gerard  came to Australia as the Baden-Clays.

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The parents worked with Gerard at his property business, started after a string of his job failures, and on the brink of going into receivership by late 2011.

On the morning of Friday, April 19, 2012, Gerard Baden-Clay called police to report his wife missing, claiming he’d last seen her watching TV about 10pm the night before.

He explained away deep curved gouges on his face as ‘shaving cuts’, which police later photographed along with red marks on his torso he blamed on a caterpillar attack.

Gerard did not join in the extensive police and community search for the missing mother-of-three, but phoned his mistress and told her ‘we need to not communicate and lay low’.

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Hannah Baden-Clay has followed in the footsteps of her 'beautiful and courageous' mother with a dance performance degree

Hannah Baden-Clay  is the image of her mother, former ballerina Allison (above)

‘Beautiful and strong’ : Hannah (left) is the image of her mother, former ballerina Allison (right) in whose the 20-year-old has followed with a dance performance degree from QUT

Sarah, Hannah and Ella Baden-Clay with their aunt Vanessa Fowler and grandparents, Priscilla and Geoff Dickie on Strive To Be Kind Day, a creation of the Allison Baden-Clay Foundation

Sarah, Hannah and Ella Baden-Clay with their aunt Vanessa Fowler and grandparents, Priscilla and Geoff Dickie on Strive To Be Kind Day, a creation of the Allison Baden-Clay Foundation

Family members have described Allison' (above) three daughters as 'resilient and confident ... like their mother' and said if she could see them today she would be 'beaming with pride'

Family members have described Allison’ (above) three daughters as ‘resilient and confident … like their mother’ and said if she could see them today she would be ‘beaming with pride’

Toni McHugh would later testify that Gerard had told her before Allison vanished that he no longer loved his wife, they had a sexless relationship and although he was worried about Allison’s mental health, he would be out of the marriage by July 1, 2012.

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At 11am on Monday, April 30, a canoeist found a woman’s body under the Kholo Creek bridge at Anstead, about 30km west of the Baden-Clays home.

After the body was identified as Allison, Nigel Baden-Clay filled out life insurance forms for his son to sign. 

Detectives began seeking information of the movements of the Baden-Clays’ white Toyota Prado and silver Holden Captiva between 8pm and 5am the next day on the night Allison disappeared.

On May 11, Hannah, Sarah and Ella Baden-Clay attended their mother’s funeral with their father, who a month later on June 13, was charged with murdering his wife and improperly interfering with her body.

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Gerard Baden-Clay was remanded in custody, taken from Brisbane Watchhouse to Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre.

The Baden-Clay family home in Brookfield in western Brisbane where Gerard reported wife Allison missing in April, 2012, only to be arrested for her murder eight weeks later

The Baden-Clay family home in Brookfield in western Brisbane where Gerard reported wife Allison missing in April, 2012, only to be arrested for her murder eight weeks later 

Gerard and Allison Baden-Clay's marriage had disintegrated as he had an affair and then plotted to murder her and collect of life insurance to prop up his failed real estate business

Gerard and Allison Baden-Clay’s marriage had disintegrated as he had an affair and then plotted to murder her and collect of life insurance to prop up his failed real estate business

Gerard Baden-Clay told police the curved gouges on his right cheek were shaving cuts but as a prosecutor said during his murder trial , Allison had 'lashed out and left her marks upon you' as he attacked in their family home

Gerard Baden-Clay told police the curved gouges on his right cheek were shaving cuts but as a prosecutor said during his murder trial , Allison had ‘lashed out and left her marks upon you’ as he attacked in their family home

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He entered pleas of not guilty to the charges, and briefed lawyers to argue that a depressed Allison had left the home of her own accord and taken her own life. 

 At the trial in mid-2014, Queensland government botanist, Dr Gordon Guymer, identified the species of plants forensic officers had found in Allison’s hair. 

Dr Guymer said that while eucalyptus and Chinese elm were found at both Kholo Creek and the Baden-Clay house, crepe myrtle, cats claw creeper and fishbone fern were only at the latter location.

In a powerful cross-examination of Baden-Clay before the jury, Crown prosecutor Todd Fuller described the marks on the accused’s face after Allison disappeared and said three witnesses had found it implausible they were caused by a razor blade.

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‘You attacked her and the only way that she could respond was to lash out and claw at your face and leave marks upon it?’ Mr Fuller said in a flurry of questions which the accused denied. 

‘Probably you smothered her and took her life from her.

Toni McHugh became Gerard Baden-Clay's mistress when the pair worked together at his failing real estate agency, with him promising he would leave Alison for her  before murdered his wife

Toni McHugh became Gerard Baden-Clay’s mistress when the pair worked together at his failing real estate agency, with him promising he would leave Alison for her  before murdered his wife

‘Perhaps her jumper came up as she tried to fight you off. Up around her hands and up around her neck. Or did that happen later as you moved her body … and dumped her in the creek.

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‘You transported her to Kholo Creek and dumped her underneath the bridge unceremoniously … anxious to get back to your children.

‘That was all done by 1.48am perhaps which is when you put your phone back on its charger.

‘You started covering your tracks then …  the toys in the back of the car. Shaving, cutting yourself just at the bottom edges to help disguise, give some legitimacy to the claim they were in fact shaving cuts.

”And you were happy for police to search your house? Because you knew there was nothing to be found.’

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In distressing scenes played out in the court videoed police interviews of Hannah, 10, and Sarah, 8, sat in their school uniforms sobbing as police officers asked them questions about their parents.

Queensland government botanist, Dr Gordon Guymer, identified the species of plants in Allison's hair and said crepe myrtle, cats claw creeper and fishbone fern could only be found at the Baden-Clay house (above)

Queensland government botanist, Dr Gordon Guymer, identified the species of plants in Allison’s hair and said crepe myrtle, cats claw creeper and fishbone fern could only be found at the Baden-Clay house (above)

Forensic police retrieved five plant species from Allison's hair which proved vital in establishing that she had been murdered at  home rather than left voluntarily and then taken her own life

Forensic police retrieved five plant species from Allison’s hair which proved vital in establishing that she had been murdered at  home rather than left voluntarily and then taken her own life

Police seized two cars at the Baden-Clay family home and found a 'dripping blood' stain in the boot of Allison's silver Holden Captiva

Police seized two cars at the Baden-Clay family home and found a ‘dripping blood’ stain in the boot of Allison’s silver Holden Captiva

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Sarah had burst into tears when a policewoman asked her why she was being interviewed, replying: ‘Because of my mum. She’s missing.’ 

Talking about bedtime, the sobbing little girl said of her mum: ‘She sings a song to me … Away In a Manger.’

At one point when a detective asked Sarah about whether her parents were ‘good friends’, and when asked why, she broke down, sobbing, ’cause they’re never sad’.

The jury found Gerard Baden-Clay guilty of murdering Allison and he was sentenced to life, which in Queensland has a minimum term of 15 years,

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In 2015, the Queensland Court of Criminal Appeal controversially downgraded his murder conviction to manslaughter, but after a public outcry from Allison’s family and supporters that was itself appealed. 

In 2016, the High Court of Australia overturned the decision and the murder conviction was reinstated. 

Priscilla and Geoff Dickie, (above with daughter Vanessa) after the High Court sough to reinstate Gerard Baden-Clay's murder conviction, brought up Allison's three daughters after the tragedy

Priscilla and Geoff Dickie, (above with daughter Vanessa) after the High Court sough to reinstate Gerard Baden-Clay’s murder conviction, brought up Allison’s three daughters after the tragedy

Geoff Dickie with granddaughter Sarah Baden-Clay who has now graduated from Ipswich Girls Grammar and is attending university

Geoff Dickie with granddaughter Sarah Baden-Clay who has now graduated from Ipswich Girls Grammar and is attending university 

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In the years since, Gerard Baden-Clay – once described as ‘a model inmate’ – has been confined to cells for touching the buttocks of a male prison guard.

Staff at Wolston Correctional Centre said Baden-Clay had gone from model prisoner to one who was over-familiar with staff and ‘forgets his place’. 

The three Baden-Clay sisters attended Ipswich Girls Grammar where the youngest is still a student in her mid-teens.

Sarah left school last year to attend university and  according to their family, they have grown up to be ‘resilient and confident … like their mother’.

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The Dickies and Allison’s sister Vanessa Fowler set up the Allison Baden-Clay Foundation to raise awareness about domestic violence and the need for respectful relationships, and holds an annual Strive To Be Kind Day. 

The family with the Queensland Government began a $5000 Allison Baden-Clay senior program scholarship to help young women become professional ballerinas.

In 2018, Hannah and Sarah Baden-Clay made their first public appearance to see Brisbane dance student Taji Hennessy receive the inaugural award.

In April, around the time of Hannah’s QUT dance performance graduation, the Dickies released a statement , saying ‘Allison has been in our thoughts every day’ . 

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‘Ten years have passed since you were taken from us. Today, tomorrow and always, we lovingly remember you,’ they wrote.

‘We remember the wonderful person that she was and for the joy she brought to us all in her everyday life.

‘Regardless of her own struggles and hurdles, she remained strong and courageous.

‘Allison touched the lives of many. Dearest Allison, you remain forever in our hearts.’  

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Vanessa Fowler told Woman’s Day that could Allison see the girls today ‘their mum would be beaming with pride’.      

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