‘Daddy’: Shocking way schoolgirl murdered

After six and a half days of deliberating following the four-week trial, a jury on Wednesday found the 33-year-old guilty of the charge of murder, convicting Mr Stein and ignoring his version of events.

The jury had been deliberating since Thursday, June 6, though they did miss two days of jury deliberation last week due to the public holiday and juror illness.

After the jury foreperson announced the guilty verdict to the court, Justice Helen Wilson formally convicted Mr Stein.

Stein will now face a sentence hearing on August 23, when the little girl’s family and loved ones will be able to provide a victim impact statements.

Justice Wilson thanked the jury for their service, noting that during jury selection many members of the public said they could not listen to evidence relating to the death of a child because of its confronting nature.

“I thank you most sincerely for your service,” she told the jury before they were discharged.

Mr Stein has travelled hours every day to and from prison, with little support from family members, as a jury heard he shot the nine-year-old twice before putting her body in a barrel.

While Mr Stein denied the murder, he admitted to disposing of the girl’s body by dumping the barrel down an embankment near the Colo River.

The jury agreed with the prosecution, finding Mr Stein was the last person to see Charlise and had the opportunity to kill her between 7.16pm on January 11 and 10.06am on January 12.

Charlise Mutten was found dead in a barrel.
Charlise Mutten was found dead in a barrel.
Supplied Editorial Justin Stein and Kallista Mutten. She is the mother of missing girl Charlise Mutten and he is the fiancee. Picture: Facebook
Justin Stein was found guilty of her murder.

Charlise was reported missing on the morning of January 14, 2022, hours after he dumped the barrel containing her body and 100kg of sand.

Mr Stein had claimed he saw Ms Mutten shoot her daughter at the family property on the night of January 12.

But the jury ignored his version of events and found he was the person who murdered Charlise. He will face a sentence hearing at a later date.

Charlise had travelled to Sydney on December 21, 2021. She spent her time split between Mr Stein’s family property at Mount Wilson and at the Riviera Ski Gardens caravan park in Lower Portland about 90 minutes away.


Ms Mutten last saw her daughter on January 11, before she asked to “go with Daddy” back to the Mount Wilson property.

The jury heard Charlise travelled with Mr Stein that evening and sent a message to Ms Mutten about 8.20pm: “I’m just cooking up some chicken and Charsey is watching TV and playing with balloons”.

Supplied Editorial **MUST CREDIT 9 NEWS** Police are continuing an extensive search for\n a missing nine-year-old girl who was holidaying in the NSW Blue Mountains.\n Charlise Mutten, 9, was reported missing from a Mt Wilson property at about\n 8.20am on Friday and has reportedly been missing since Thursday.. Picture:9 News
Charlise disappeared from the Mount Wilson property, prompting a major search. Picture:9 News

The jury heard Mr Stein made claims Charlise woke up on the morning of January 12 “throwing up everywhere”.

Mr Stein told Ms Mutten a woman had arrived at the house to value the property, leaving Charlise in her care.

At 10.06am, Mr Stein sent another text: “Am literally about to walk out the door. Charsey is staying put in bed, she’s wrecked and already fallen back to sleep”.

Mr Stein left the property at 10.13am.

By that time, Charlise was already dead.

Mr Stein collected Ms Mutten from the caravan park before they travelled into Sydney and bought $50 of marijuana and $100 of methylamphetamine, known as ice.

Mr Stein’s barrister, Carolyn Davenport SC, argued Charlise was still alive at this point and was “laid down” in the back seat of the car, but the jury did not accept this evidence.

The couple drove to Centennial Park and had sex in Mr Stein’s Holden Colorado ute after injecting ice, before returning to the family property at 8.44pm to find no lights on in the house.

COURT - Kallista Mutten
Kallista Mutten, Charlise’s mother, gave evidence in the trial Picture: NewsWire / Gaye Gerard


While the jury found Charlise was already dead by the time they arrived, Mr Stein painted a different picture.

As the only defence witness, Mr Stein’s voice wavered as claimed he “heard a gunshot” and Charlise call his name.

Holding back tears he told the jury: “I got to the back of the shed, that’s when I heard Charlise scream ‘Mummy, no’.”

“That’s when I heard … bang … a second gunshot … I saw Kallista and that’s when I saw Charlise on the ground.”

Crown prosecutor Ken McKay SC told the jury Mr Stein’s version of events was “nonsense” and “it just did not happen that way”.

Ms Mutten denied killing her daughter.

On January 13, Mr Stein said he left Mount Wilson with plans to do construction work at the caravan park, and had loaded the barrel for that reason.

But the jury found the prosecution story, that Mr Stein had planned to dump Charlise’s body while pretending to look for her, to be true.


Mr Stein sent messages to Ms Mutten and his mother pretending he was “going to war” and looking for Charlise, who he claimed could have been taken by his old crime associates.

Mr Stein told his mother in a message he was going to “get to the bottom of it”.

At the time, he was at the wharf with Charlise’s body in the back of his ute.

He then spent hours driving around wharves in Sydney before travelling to the lower Colo Rd and dumping the barrel down an embankment in the early hours of January 14 near the Colo River.

“Ultimately by the time he got back he’s done what he set out to do,” Mr McKay told the jury.

“He filled the barrel with sand, he put weight in it and tipped it down or rolled it down an embankment to the Colo Rive … the body was now gone.”

Justin Stein gave evidence in his trial. Picture: NCA Newswire / Vincent de Gouw
Justin Stein gave evidence in his trial. Picture: NCA Newswire / Vincent de Gouw


But on his evidence, Mr Stein told the court he received a call from Ms Mutten while at Bunnings where she told him “you’ve got Charlise with you, only you can bring her home”, before he saw Charlise in the barrel later that night.

In prison calls played to the court Mr Stein claimed to his mother he “didn’t even know” the barrel with Charlise’s body was on the back of his ute.

“I’m literally at Bunnings and I get a phone call saying ‘you’ve got Charlise with you’... I was driving around with a f**king kid on the back of my ute,” the jury heard Mr Stein say in a prison phone call.

In his closing argument, Mr McKay said Ms Mutten “never called” to tell Mr Stein he had Charlise with him.

“Somehow, with him unaware, Kallista has got a 33.5kg child who is now wrapped up onto the ute, undone the straps, taken the tarp off, put in the soil as well, and then put Charlise in there,” Mr McKay said.

“All unbeknown to the accused.”

Justin Stein was captured on CCTV driving a barrel with Charlise’s body around Sydney. Picture: NSW Police
Justin Stein was captured on CCTV driving a barrel with Charlise’s body around Sydney. Picture: NSW Police

The jury agreed with the evidence and convicted Mr Stein.

During Ms Davenport’s closing arguments, which was ultimately rejected by the jury, she claimed Ms Mutten was respoinsible for the murder.

“My submission to you is the accumulation of the things happening in Kallista Mutten’s life that week … taking ice every day, being rejected by Justin Stein, being rejected by her daughter and knowing she was no longer able to go and live at Mount Wilson had a cumulative effect upon her,” Ms Davenport told the jury in her closing address.

“In order, who knows, to gain attention, to win Justin Stein back, she killed her child.”

She told the jury Ms Mutten was someone who didn’t “take rejection well” and becomes “quite psychotic as a result of being rejected”, claiming it was “the last straw”.

Charlise’s body was found with two gunshot wounds, one to the side of the face and one to the lower back, in a barrel rolled down an embankment near the Colo River on January 18.

Mr Stein was arrested on the same day and has remained in custody ever since.