Man took 'trophy' photo after killing Karlie, court told

The man accused of murdering Karlie Pearce-Stevenson and her daughter Khandalyce Pearce allegedly photographed the young mother's body after "stepping on her throat and crushing her windpipe".

Daniel James Holdom then allegedly picked up two-year-old Khandalyce and checked into a motel near Wagga Wagga in south-west NSW, buying duct tape and dishcloths along the way in December 2008.

Seven years later, Khandalyce's skeletal remains were found stuffed in a tattered suitcase at the side of a desolate highway near Wynarka in South Australia.

Details of the "overwhelming" police case against Mr Holdom, 42, were revealed for the first time on Thursday as he was committed to stand trial for murder.

The bodies of Ms Pearce-Stevenson and Khandalyce were found 1200 kilometres and five years apart but were linked through a DNA breakthrough in 2015.

Police allege Mr Holdom killed the pair, from Alice Springs, days apart in 2008.

Ms Pearce-Stevenson's body was found in Belanglo State Forest in the NSW Southern Highlands in August 2010 while Khandalyce's remains were found five years later.

Mr Holdom, Ms Pearce-Stevenson's former boyfriend, was charged in 2015 with the deaths of the mother and daughter.

During a committal hearing on Thursday, Crown prosecutor Victoria Engel detailed the evidence against Mr Holdom, including alleged admissions he made to various witnesses about the killings.

Ms Engel said it was the Crown case that Mr Holdom was the last person seen with Ms Pearce-Stevenson alive on December 14, 2008.

The pair left Charnwood, in Canberra's northern suburbs, in Ms Pearce-Stevenson's Holden Commodore after an argument over board payments.

Police have since tracked Ms Pearce-Stevenson's mobile phone and traced the pair's drive from the ACT to near Belanglo State Forest.

Mr Holdom later allegedly told a witness he stepped on Ms Pearce-Stevenson's throat, crushed her windpipe and left her body next a tree, the court heard.

He then allegedly took a photo of her body.

"The evidence including photographing her body in situ, as a trophy of sorts, is indicative of an intention to kill," Ms Engel told Central Local Court.

Mr Holdom then allegedly returned to Charnwood by himself and Ms Pearce-Stevenson, 20, was never seen again.

Ms Engel said Mr Holdom was seen leaving with two-year-old Khandalyce on December 19, 2008, and drove towards Wagga Wagga.

There was "damning evidence" he allegedly stopped at a Woolworths supermarket and bought duct tape, garbage bags, body wash gel and a dishcloth before checking into a motel.

"He never had an intention of returning Khandalyce to anywhere alive as it would have raised suspicions about [Ms Pearce-Stevenson's] whereabouts," Ms Engel said.

According to a witness statement made to police, Mr Holdom allegedly admitted to suffocating Khandalyce. Items linked to the motel were found in the suitcase with her body.

Over the years, when asked about the toddler's whereabouts, Mr Holdom allegedly told people he dropped Khandalyce off at a motel with her mother or at her grandmother in South Australia.

However, he also allegedly admitted to the killings to two separate witnesses, including one who made a diary note about it but has since recanted parts of the statement.

It is alleged that after Ms Pearce-Stevenson and her daughter were killed, Mr Holdom used the single mother's credit card and accessed her bank account for years.

Ms Pearce-Stevenson's phone was also used to communicate with her mother, Colleen Povey, who died from breast cancer in 2012.

After reviewing the 42 volumes that made up the brief of evidence, magistrate Les Mabbutt said there was an "overwhelming circumstantial case".

"I am satisfied on both charges the prosecution case is capable of satisfying a jury properly instructed that the accused murdered Khandalyce and Karlie," he said.

Wearing a prison-green jumper in the dock, Mr Holdom barely spoke throughout the hearing and opted not to make submissions.

He was committed to stand trial in the NSW Supreme Court.

The case was adjourned to October 6 for arraignment.

The story Man took 'trophy' photo after killing Karlie, court told first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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