Amber Haigh was placed in ‘cargo’ section of car to meet ambulance, court hears

<span>A NSW supreme court has heard Amber Haigh suffered from epilepsy.</span><span>Photograph: ODPP NSW</span>
A NSW supreme court has heard Amber Haigh suffered from epilepsy.Photograph: ODPP NSW

Amber Haigh was having trouble walking when she was put in the “cargo” section of a two-door car to meet an ambulance, a court has heard.

Giving evidence in the New South Wales supreme court on Tuesday, Catherine Kerr, a women’s health nurse, said she was in bed at home when Robert Geeves knocked on her back door at 10pm on 19 February 2002, less than a month after Haigh’s baby was born. Kerr said Geeves asked to use the phone to call an ambulance.

She said Geeves arrived with 19-year-old Haigh, who was the mother of their newborn baby, and his wife, Anne Geeves, who was holding the infant. Although Kerr is a first cousin of Robert Geeves, she told the court she had not seen him for years.

Kerr said Haigh, who suffered from epilepsy, appeared “in a lot of discomfort” that night and told Kerr she felt as if she was having a fit.

“She sat down very carefully … Almost as if she’d only just had the baby,” Kerr told the court.

Kerr asked if she could lay Haigh down on a spare bed until the ambulance arrived but she told the court “Robert didn’t want that to happen”.

“He just wanted to get her back in the vehicle and take her up to the road. Our driveway at that stage was about 400m long,” she said.

Kerr said she assisted Amber along her veranda and down a few steps to the vehicle as she “wasn’t moving very freely”.

Then Kerr said Robert Geeves assisted her into the back of the vehicle, “not the back seat, in the back of the vehicle, so where you would put cargo”.

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“There were blankets. Amber sat very carefully,” she said.

Although it was February, Kerr said it was cool and she offered another wrap for the baby but it was declined and they went back to the road to meet the ambulance.

The court heard that Haigh was admitted to the Young hospital for a few days that evening and Kerr told the court a message came to the women’s health nurses who were asked to provide counselling for Haigh regarding contraception.

Haigh was 19 when she vanished without trace from the New South Wales Riverina area in July 2002, leaving behind her five-month-old son.

Now, 22 years since her disappearance, the father of her child, 64-year-old Robert Geeves, and his wife, Anne Geeves, are on trial for her murder. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Kerr told the court she first saw Amber as a client when Haigh suspected she was pregnant in June 2001. Kerr confirmed the pregnancy via a test.

After discussing Haigh’s options, which Kerr said was routine, Haigh returned two weeks later and said she wanted to continue with the pregnancy.

Related: Amber Haigh wanted to make a will because she feared baby’s father would ‘end her life’, court told

Kerr’s notes recorded that Haigh told her there could be a problem in that the “father was a married man”. When given a booklet on pregnancy care, Haigh told Kerr she couldn’t take it home as her “partner’s wife might find it”.

Kerr described Haigh as “childlike”.

“She might have been 18 or 19 but she acted and spoke at a much younger age, probably early teens,” Kerr said.

The defence declined cross-examination of Kerr.

Haigh’s unresolved disappearance has been an enduring mystery in NSW’s Riverina, where she was last seen alive more than two decades ago.

Haigh’s body has never been found, but a coroner has ruled she died from “homicide or misadventure”.

The prosecution has alleged in court that Haigh – described in court as “very easily misled” – was used by Robert and Anne Geeves as a “surrogate mother” because they wanted another baby.

Haigh was last seen on 5 June 2002. The Geeveses say they drove her that evening from Kingsvale to Campbelltown railway station so she could visit her dying father in hospital and have not heard from her since.

They told police Haigh willingly left her infant son in their custody.

The Geeveses reported Haigh missing a fortnight later, on 19 June 2002.

The judge-alone trial, before justice Julia Lonergan, continues in Wagga Wagga.