Sarah Gatt’s ex-girlfriend saw body months before police found remains, court told13th April 2021
“There was a kind of sheet of something. I lifted the sheet up to have a look and there was a kind of foot or something sticking up,” Ms Rei-Paku said in her statement.
“He [Mr Baker] goes, ‘See how it’s sort of black’, and he pulled the sheet right back.
“I was like, ‘Eww.’ I said, ‘F—, I don’t want nothing to do with this.’”
The ex-girlfriend told police Mr Baker said he planned to “throw out” the body, and that she left the flat.
“I don’t know if the body was real or not. It played on my mind a bit,” she said.
On Tuesday, Ms Rei-Paku told the court she was scared when she heard the men speak about the body. She said the pair told her they initially thought the remains were hers. At no point did either man say it was Ms Gatt’s body.
“I didn’t know what to expect … I just wanted to know where she was,” Ms Rei-Paku said.
But she admitted that despite seeing the body and knowing her former girlfriend was missing, she didn’t suspect it was Ms Gatt. Ms Rei-Paku was “pretty messed up on drugs” at the time and was mourning the recent deaths of her father and a brother-in-law.
Ms Rei-Paku said she didn’t tell anyone about what she saw until she was arrested by police months later.
She said she confronted Mr Baker two days after seeing the body but admitted that was over a financial dispute, and that she left when Justin threatened her with a cricket bat.
Mr Baker is also accused of siphoning Ms Gatt’s Centrelink benefits into his own account, and Ms Rei-Paku admitted she had claimed to be her former girlfriend in order to receive benefits. She did this because she “wanted to find out what was going on with my benefits”.
Mr Baker’s hearing continues on Wednesday.
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Adam Cooper joined The Age in 2011 after a decade with AAP. Email or tweet Adam with your news tips.
Erin covers crime for The Age. Most recently she was a police reporter at the Geelong Advertiser.