Ex-girlfriend was too scared to tell police what she saw

THE HARLEY HICKS TRIAL: Click here to review the trial day by day

THE former girlfriend of the man accused of murdering baby Zayden Veal-Whitting has told the Supreme Court she was too scared to tell police what she saw in the days that followed the baby’s death.

Martina Lawn said she saw stolen goods at the Green Street house she shared with Harley Hicks, the man accused of the child’s murder. Hicks, 21, of Long Gully has pleaded not guilty to murder, aggravated burglary and theft.

Zayden was found bludgeoned to death and laying in a pool of blood by his mother on June 15, 2012.

The crown alleges Hicks committed a series of burglaries overnight on June 14/15 and murdered the child.

Ms Lawn told the court she was in a relationship with Hicks for about eight weeks before the night of the child’s death.

On the night of June 14, Ms Lawn said Hicks left the house about 6.30-7pm to see his drug dealer, and returned with marijuana.

She said he then left the house again sometime between 9pm and 11pm wearing a grey hooded jacket and tracksuit pants, before returning in the early hours the following morning.

Ms Lawn was in bed, but said she heard the rustling of bags and Hicks speaking with his older brother, Joshua, and his girlfriend Danielle Densley.

Ms Lawn said she also heard Hicks make a phone call to Alan Smith, asking him to return a bag, which Mr Smith then did.

The following morning she noticed a set of black scales, two or three pairs of sunglasses, phones and ‘’bags of other stuff’’ in the house.

The court has previously heard Zayden’s stepfather,  Mathew Tisell, say he noticed a set of black scales missing from their home the morning after the baby’s death. His sunglasses and wallet were also gone.

Ms Lawn said she saw Hicks counting money in his bedroom on the morning of June 15.

She said Hicks then asked her to leave for her sister’s house in Gisborne a day earlier than planned.

The couple left about lunch time on June 15, with Hicks wearing motorbike boots Ms Lawn had not previously seen and the sunglasses she had seen earlier that day.

Ms Lawn told the court that later that night she saw Hicks looking up websites related to his name, the death of a child in Long Gully and burglaries in the area. She said the searches took him to links on the Bendigo Advertiser website relating to the death of the child.

She said that on the Saturday, she received a message on her phone from Ms Densley saying “Tell Harley that the Xbox is in the car’’.

The pair attended a family function in Gisborne on the Sunday and the following day Ms Lawn received a call from her mother, informing her police wanted to speak with her.

When Ms Lawn communicated that to Hicks, she walked inside the house and when she returned, Hicks had gone.

When Ms Lawn was shown a photo of a baton by the prosecution, she was asked if it was left around the house and used as a toy for the dogs.

Ms Lawn told the court she had never seen the item used as a dog’s toy, as “it used to sit up on a pelmet … up above a sliding door, behind a photo, a picture,’’ she said.

Ms Lawn said Hicks’ twin brother Ashley visited the house, but not often as she and Ashley did not get along.

When questioned by defence counsel David Hallowes as to why Ms Lawn did not initially tell police she saw items in the house on June 15, Ms Lawn said she was not trying to protect Hicks, but was ‘’ scared, plain bluntly just scared’’.  

Ms Lawn's sister, Brooke Tucker, told the court when she returned to her Gisborne home on Sunday, June 17, she saw Hicks cutting off the legs of a pair of tracksuit pants. She said the couple arrived at the house a day earlier than planned.

Her husband, Peter Tucker, said he found searches relating to burglaries and the death of a child on his computer, and Hicks' belongings hidden in places throughout his house. 

He said motorbike boots were hidden in separate spots, a bag containing drug paraphernalia was found under the dirty washing, items were under the couch and the cut off pieces from the tracksuit pants Hicks had been wearing were in the rubbish bin.

Long Gully resident Colin Taylor told the court a pair of black motorbike boots were stolen from his property overnight on June 14/15.

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