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Gerard Baden-Clay: From role model to accused murderer




Police take Gerard Baden-Clay away to be charged with the murder of his wife Allison

Three years ago, Gerard Baden-Clay stood in front of an assembly hall full of high school students in Kenmore. He spoke of the the keys to success in life and the attributes that make up virtuous and productive community leaders.

Quoting his great-grandfather Robert Baden-Powell, the famed founder of the Scout movement, he told the senior class of 2008 and their parents that success equated to happiness.

"What is success?" he said.




Murdered Brisbane woman Allison Baden-Clay.

"We were put into this world of wonders and beauty with a special ability to appreciate them, and also in being able to help other people instead of over reaching them and, through it all, to enjoy life ... and to be happy.

"That is what I count as success, to be happy."

The principal real estate agent went on, saying: "To me, the most fundamental element of good leadership is to lead by example."



An artist's impression of Gerard Baden-Clay, as he sat in Brisbane Magistrates Court.

"That entails responsibility ... responsibility for one's own actions," he said.

If not for the events of the past two months, the carefully crafted speech, posted on Mr Baden-Clay's blog, would have remained buried and forgotten in the vast world-wide blogosphere.

Mr Baden-Clay's wife, Allison, disappeared from their family home in the leafy western Brisbane suburb of Brookfield on a Thursday night in April.

He allegedly told police he last saw his wife watching Channel Nine's The Footy Show in their living room about 10pm and woke to find her missing from their bed.

Ten days later, Mrs Baden-Clay's body was found by a canoeist underneath the Kholo Creek bridge.

Last Wednesday afternoon, Mr Baden-Clay was escorted by detectives from at his real estate office in Toowong Tower. He was driven four hours later to the Brisbane Watchhouse and charged with his wife's murder.

According to the charge sheet presented in court this week, Mr Baden-Clay allegedly killed his wife at their Brookfield home "on or about" April 19, and on the same date improperly interfered with her body at Kholo Creek.

Today, he sits in a three by four metre prison cell in Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre, where he will remain for at least a week until the Supreme Court hears his bid for bail.

The case made international headlines yesterday with the UK'sDaily Mail reporting on the "first court hearing for Scout movement founder Lord Baden-Powell's great grandson charged with wife's murder".

Via his personal blog, Mr Baden-Clay commented on the real estate market and offered advise to potential buyers and vendors.

However he provided a rare insight into his family life in November 2008, when he recounted his week as a sole parent, while his wife enjoyed a rare retreat from the demands of motherhood to celebrate her 40th birthday.

He spoke of his exhaustion, his failure to wash a single load of laundry and the mundane responsibilities that come with parenthood.

"The past week I have been trying to do my best impersonation of my dear wife – and struggling!" he wrote.

"I thought that I was pretty in tune with the day-to-day routine, but I can honestly say that this week has given me a real insight into the challenges of managing a family.

"Waking up, getting dressed, having breakfast, making lunches, getting to school, collecting from school, bath, cook dinner, eat dinner, homework, teeth, bed! And that doesn't include any extracurricular activities like ballet, swimming and music!

"And, I haven't done any vacuuming, dusting, cleaning or a single load of washing!

"Despite these challenges (and the associated exhaustion!), I have enjoyed some wonderful times with my children both individually and collectively.

"Whether it be a few minutes playing in the park, a snatched moment whilst getting them ready for bed, or just the simple pleasure of talking about life whilst driving to and from school, kindy and a host of other activities!

"The startling revelation personally, has been the realisation that I am NOT superman after all!"

With their father now behind bars, Mr Baden-Clay's three daughters are in the care of their maternal grandparents, Priscilla and Geoff Dickie.

The details of Mr Baden-Clay's private life have garnered much public interest, as the wider community tries to comprehend the allegations against him.

He has maintained his innocence, with his solicitor Darren Mahony saying his client intends to "vigorously defend" the charges against him.

Mr Baden-Clay met his wife while both worked for Flight Centre. She was managing a Flight Centre branch in Ipswich at the time, while he worked as a consultant at the Toombul store.

Mrs Baden-Clay later excelled to become the global head of human resources for Flight Centre, before she and Gerard married in 1997 and then settled in London for about a year.

Following their return to Brisbane, Mr Baden-Clay founded a real estate office with Century 21 in Taringa and his wife stepped out of the workforce to be a stay-at-home mother for her daughters.

At Mrs Baden-Clay's funeral, she was remembered as "a high achiever, a model mum and an unselfish soul".

Her older sister, Vanessa Fowler, pledged to fight for justice.

"Allison, there are many questions that are unanswered, many pieces of a puzzle that need to be put together, and we your family pledge to you that we will have these questions answered," she said.

www.BrisbaneTimes.com.au

16.6.12