THE homicide squad believed Brett Penrose was involved in baby Charlotte Keen’s death early in its inquiries.
In the final day of a more than two-week inquest into the 2004 death of the 11-month-old baby, the Wodonga Coroner’s Court heard Mr Penrose was alone with Charlotte the night she sustained injuries that led to her death five days later.
The court heard Charlotte’s mother, Renee Jones, was out with a friend all night.
Closed-circuit television footage captured the pair outside the Globe Hotel at 3am.
The policeman who has led the investigation for the past nine years said under cross-examination he believed Mr Penrose, Ms Jones’ then partner, was involved in Charlotte’s death.
Detective Sgt Adam Forehan said Mr Penrose was under police surveillance that included a listening device and phone taps in the weeks after Charlotte’s death.
It was frustrating as Mr Penrose changed sim cards and phones several times and activated sim cards under other people’s names.
Sgt Forehan said Mr Penrose told him he kept a diary after Charlotte’s death as he “found it difficult to recollect things”.
Mr Penrose promised he would give him the diary in the week after he was arrested and released without charge, along with Ms Jones, in April 2005, but failed to turn up to three pre- arranged interviews.
Sgt Forehan said he got the impression Mr Penrose was avoiding him and there was nothing he could do about it.
“I had no arrest power,” Sgt Forehan said.
Lisa Green was working as a paramedic in Wodonga when a 000 call came from a man in Phefley Court at 8.19am on December 12, 2004, about an 11-month-old who had bruising and was screaming.
“He didn’t know what happened, didn’t know the child’s surname and didn’t know where the mother was,” Ms Green told the court.
“Some things didn’t quite add up.”
Ms Green and another paramedic arrived at the house to be greeted by a man, understood to be Mr Penrose.
“They’re down in the back room and they won’t stop crying,” Ms Green said he told them.
The paramedics found Ms Jones cradling a crying Charlotte, who was covered in fresh and old bruises and her neck was flopping.
“She thought the child might have hit her head in the cot but she didn’t really know,” Ms Green said of the conversation she had with Ms Jones before they took Charlotte to hospital.
“I got the feeling we weren’t getting the whole truth.”
Coroner Jacinta Heffey is expected to hand-down her findings in mid-November from the Melbourne Coroner’s Court and it will be video linked to Wodonga.