GRAEME Keen’s new girlfriend was so shocked by the bruises on Wodonga baby Charlotte Rose Keen’s face that she “wanted to throw up”.
Melissa King was with Charlotte’s father dropping a car seat back at the home of the baby’s mother, Renee Jones, on December 11, 2004, about 9pm.
Several other adults were in the house at the time, including Ms Jones’ partner, Brett Penrose.
“I went inside and Brett was putting Charlotte to bed,” she told police.
“I gave Charlotte a cuddle and that’s when I saw the bruises on her face. When I saw them I wanted to throw up.”
In Wodonga Coroner’s Court yesterday, coroner Jacinta Heffey asked Ms King why she didn’t talk about the bruises with anyone else, such as Ms Jones, given how the sight had made her felt sick.
“It was something for her parents to discuss,” she said.
Ms King was one of two witnesses when the inquest into Charlotte’s death reconvened yesterday — the second was Detective Acting Sgt Murray Sleep.
Sgt Sleep first heard about the Keen case when he received a phone call on December 12 at 9.35am from Wodonga hospital associate nurse manager Meredith Scullin.
That day the little girl was flown to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.
She died on December 17, having been on life support for five days with a brain injury that the court has heard would have given her no quality of life had she survived.
The inquest has already heard Charlotte had a broken arm and up to 25 bruises when she died and that her injuries were consistent with shaken baby syndrome.
Ms King said Charlotte had bruises on both sides of her face.
In her statement to police, she told of how she and Mr Keen — her partner of three weeks — and a friend, Kate McDonald, went to the Liquid nightclub in Albury on December 11 about 11pm.
Three hours later, they were walking to the Globe Hotel when Ms Jones and another woman, Brooke Williams — who had been at the house the night before — pulled up in Mr Penrose’s car.
“Renee called Graeme over,” Ms King said.
“Brooke was saying that they had been in the Globe earlier and they were going home — they were in a happy mood.
“Both said that they hadn’t been drinking.
“They seemed to me as if they had used drugs.”
Ms King, who regularly glanced over at a crying Ms Jones in court, said Mr Keen woke her the next day at 2.30pm.
He told her how Charlotte had been flown that morning to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne as “there was pressure on Charlotte’s brain”.
“Graeme was crying,” she said. “I didn’t know what had happened to Charlotte, I just presumed that it would been because of the bruises on her head.”
The inquest continues today.