Australia Man Tells Court He Didn’t Kill Girlfriend Over Abortion Dispute

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 19, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Australia Man Tells Court He Didn’t Kill Girlfriend Over Abortion Dispute

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 19
, 2008

Melbourne, Australia ( — A man accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend over an abortion dispute says he not only didn’t kill her but added she never wanted an abortion. Darren John Ellis reportedly did not want to become a father and so he killed Naomi Bernaldo.

However, on Thursday, Ellis told the Supreme Court in Melbourne that he never reported Bernaldo missing to authorities because he thought she had left him after a fight and gone elsewhere.

Ellis told the court the pair had a "quite good" relationship, had argued before she disappeared, and he claimed he did not ever fire his guns in the house.

He also denied knowing Bernaldo was pregnant at the time of her death, according to a report in The Courier newspaper.

"No," Ellis said when asked. "Naomi was pregnant quite a few times, she miscarried quite a few times."

"I’d had a feeling she’d miscarried then, like last time she was pregnant," he added, saying the last time was about a month before she was reported missing.

He also claimed he would have been happy to have another child with Bernaldo and rejected the suggestion she was planning to have an abortion at his request.

"I’m not sure who told you she was going to terminate, as far as I knew she wasn’t," he said, according to the newspaper.

During an earlier hearing in the trial, the court heard how the 19-year-old Bernaldo was shot, stabbed and then wrapped in chicken wire and weighted with bricks so Ellis could dump her body in a local lake.

Bernaldo’s mother, Anne-Marie Burke, told the court how her daughter told her about the pregnancy in early September 2006 — she was found dead in November.

She said Bernaldo was considering an abortion because Ellis already had children and didn’t want more.

"He didn’t want to have any more children," Burke said Bernaldo told her, according to a Western Australia news report.

Prosecutors told the court that Ellis, 37, was already a father when he moved in with Bernaldo in 2005.

The newspaper indicated Prosecutor Paul D’Arcy told the court about how Ellis shot Bernaldo and then sent fake test messages from her phone to friends to cover up his actions. The messages made it appear Bernaldo was leaving Ellis to go find drugs.

"Naomi at this stage is well and truly dead and in no position to be sending anyone messages," D’Arcy said.

The United States and other nations have seen a rash of violence against pregnant women when they refused to submit to an abortion. The phenomenon was highlighted by the national attention surrounding the deaths of Laci and Conner Peterson.

In the U.S., Congress and the legislatures in 36 states have approved laws to offer more protection and justice for both mother and child when they are killed or injured in an assault.

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