Murdered schoolgirl Trinity Bates.
Murdered schoolgirl Trinity Bates. Submitted

Officer recounts murder scene

A MEMBER of Bundaberg Police's dog squad recounted the moments that led him to the body of eight-year-old Trinity Bates, during a committal hearing today for the girl's accused murderer.

Allyn John Slater, 21, faces a committal hearing in Bundaberg Magistrates Court for three days this week from today, to determine whether or not there is enough evidence to proceed to trial.

He has not entered a plea.

Sergeant Bill Applebee told the court he was called to the Bates family's Walker St home about 6.15am on February 22, 2010, after it was discovered Trinity was missing from her bed.

Sgt Applebee told the court he immediately began searching in the back yard of the home with his dog, Yang, but had been unable to pick up a scent.

He said he took his dog along Walker St in the direction of a nearby culvert.

“I could see there was a scuff mark and there was fresh dirt which had fallen down the culvert,” he said.

He told the court he then began searching the drainage area and his dog indicated there was “something of interest” in the pipe.

“When I shone the torch down the pipe I noticed some debris,” he said.

“I decided I had to climb in the pipe myself. I noticed that what I thought was debris was the body.”

Earlier, the court was told Trinity had been strangled before she drowned.

Special forensic pathologist Nathan Milne said the young girl had injuries consistent with strangulation.

Mr Milne said those injuries may have caused her to lose consciousness or almost lose consciousness.

But he said the cause of death was drowning.

Mr Milne told the court Trinity had 87 bruises on her body and a 17mm cut on her forehead near her hairline that was consistent with a blunt-force trauma.

Mr Milne said there were no injuries to Trinity’s pelvic or genital areas.

About 40 witnesses are to be called during the committal hearing which is expected to last for three days.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Barry Stevens read more than 170 names into the record of people who had provided statements in the case.

More than 40 exhibits have also been entered into the record.

Three plainclothes police officers are sitting in the courtroom as security with a fourth plainclothes officer next to Slater in the dock area.

A metal detector has also been set up outside the courtroom.

The hearing continues.

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