Despite her husband warning her not to go into a crime scene, Emma O'Connor rushed inside and picked up a toddler who was next to a woman lying in a pool of blood.
"As a parent, I could not let her be in that situation and I got the little girl and held onto her," she said in the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday.
Jesse Leigh Green, 30, is accused of the stabbing murder of his former neighbour, 22-year-old Teah Luckwell, in the early hours of March 28, 2018.
She was found that evening lying in a pool of blood just inside the front door of her Tamworth unit, while the little girl was unharmed.
Justice Stephen Campbell is conducting a special NSW Supreme Court hearing after Green was found unfit to stand trial.
He has been taken to have pleaded not guilty to the murder, as well as to break and enter and assault with a weapon said to have been committed at different houses on the same night.
Ms O'Connor testified she had only known her neighbour Ms Luckwell in passing and would often see her walking up and down the street pushing a pram.
On the night of March 28, she returned from the shops and noticed Ms Luckwell's front light was on and the door open which was "really quite odd".
She saw what appeared to be someone lying on the floor, then saw there were two, and her instincts took over when she saw the little girl.
She summoned her husband who called triple zero, while she went in and got the girl who was only wearing a singlet.
Child approaches worried neighbours
Daniel O'Connor said on that night his wife had come inside "in a bit of a state" asking him to go next door as she had noticed something didn't look right.
"When I went to the front door I could see Teah was lying on the ground and a baby was laying beside her," he said.
"I immediately thought the worst, something really bad had happened."
He rang triple zero and the officer asked him to walk inside but he refused believing it to be a crime scene and having seen a lot of blood.
He bashed on the front door and the child "sort of stood up and started walking towards me which knocked me out".
He told his wife not to open the door or touch it.
"Emma, being a mother, could not leave the child in there, opened the door and the little girl came."
'Looked like a mock-up crime scene'
Constable Rowan Donaldson said he saw the woman lying on her back while "everything I could see was covered in blood".
"It looked like a mock-up crime scene you see on TV shows where blood is smeared everywhere."
He could find no pulse on the woman who was white, stiff and cold.
Senior Constable Nicole Burley said she saw a woman she later found out to be Emma O'Connor, standing outside holding a baby.
"She was very upset, she was crying and was visibly shaken by what she had seen."
The child had some blood on her singlet as well as dried blood on her hands and feet.
The hearing continues.
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