Missing girl: Man charged


A Sydney man charged with murdering a nine-year-old girl whose body was found in a barrel has been under long-term care for mental health problems, a court has been told.

Justin Laurens Stein, 31, appeared via video link in Sydney's Central Local Court on Wednesday where his lawyer asked magistrate Robert Williams for an order to "protect his personal safety".

Stein is accused of murdering the schoolgirl who was reported missing last week while holidaying with family at Wildenstein Private Gardens in Mount Wilson, a village in the Blue Mountains northwest of Sydney.

According to court documents the girl - who can no longer be named for legal reasons - was murdered between 7pm on Tuesday 11 January, and 10am on Wednesday 12 January at Mount Wilson.

She was reported missing on Friday morning 14 January.

Stein's lawyer said his client had been under long-term care for "mental health problems" and had been prescribed a fairly high dose of anti-psychotic drugs quetiapine and risperidone for many years.

The magistrate said he would order Justice Health to assess Stein's mental health needs but that his prison status was up to Corrective Service NSW.

The court was told the case, due back in court on 18 March in Penrith, involved some "complexities".

Stein was arrested at his Surry Hills unit on Tuesday night after police found the body of the child in a barrel while searching bushland near a stretch of the Colo River.

More than 100 police and emergency personnel - including dog units, homicide detectives, rescue choppers and volunteers from the SES and Rural Fire Service - scoured the area around Mount Wilson and bush near the Hawkesbury River for five days.



A man will face court today charged with murder following an investigation into the disappearance of a nine-year-old girl.

Strike Force Buena was established by Blue Mountains Police Area Command, assisted by the State Crime Command's Homicide Squad, to investigate the disappearance of a nine-year-old girl after she was reported missing from Mt Wilson last Friday.

Following extensive investigations, officers attached to the strike force yesterday conducted a search in the vicinity of the Colo River.

With the assistance of the Police divers, Hawkesbury Police Area Command, Public Order and Riot Squad, Operational Support Group and Police Rescue Squad, the body of a child was located in a barrel. The body is yet to be formally identified.

A crime scene was established and is being examined by specialist forensic officers.

As part of ongoing investigations, detectives attached to Strike Force Buena attended a unit in Riley Street, Surry Hills about 8.30pm last night and arrested a 32-year-old man.

He was taken to Surry Hills Police Station and charged with murder.

The man was refused bail to appear in Central Local Court today.

Investigations under Strike Force Buena are continuing.

Senior police and the Deputy Premier will address the media later this morning.

And Blue Mountains mayor, Mark Greenhill, has just issued a statement.

"News that a nine year old girl has be found dead will shatter our community.

"I will say just this: There can be nothing more precious than our children and we are all broken-hearted today.

"I want to reach out to all the searchers, those people who went out into the bush to give this precious little one the best chance possible, just in case she was there.

"To you all I say thank you. I know you will be hurting. I join with the community and say we are so proud of you. Through your pain please know the your decency gives us all hope in such troubled times." - Blue Mountains Gazette