11 Apr 2013

Dead girl's mother tells of souring relationship

9:55 pm on 11 April 2013

The mother of a dead 13-year-old has told a court the relationship between her former partner and her daughter had deteriorated shortly before she was killed.

Jade Bayliss' body was found in the family's burning home, strangled with socks pushed into her mouth in November 2011.

The man accused of killing her, Jeremy McLaughlin, is appearing in the High Court in Christchurch. The 35-year-old denies murder, but has admitted charges of breaking and entering, and arson.

Patricia Tina Bayliss told the court on Thursday that she and Mr McLaughlin had been in a relationship for four to six weeks, but her daughter was protective of her and didn't respect him.

In her opening address, Crown prosecutor Kathy Bell said Jade Bayliss had been off school because she was ill and was at home when the accused entered the property.

The Crown says he took items from the Barrington Street house and it was during this visit that killed the girl.

The court was told the accused then sold what he could at pawn shops before buying petrol and a lighter. He then returned to the house where he poured petrol throughout, before setting it alight.

DNA found under the girl's fingernails closely resembled that of the accused's, the jury was told.