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Fate of Jayde Kendall's killer now in jury's hands

Brenden Bennetts is charged with the murder of 16-year-old Jayde Kendall whose body was found on an Upper Tenthill property, near Gatton in 2015.
Brenden Bennetts is charged with the murder of 16-year-old Jayde Kendall whose body was found on an Upper Tenthill property, near Gatton in 2015. TRAVIS D HENDRIX

WAS it sexual misadventure, or did Jayde Kendall die at the hands of a murderer who drained her bank account?

A jury has now retired to decide whether Brenden Bennetts is guilty of murdering the Gatton schoolgirl, who vanished on August 14, 2015.

Unemployed Bennetts, then 18, began that day as "aimlessly" as any other, his defence lawyer Michael Copley said.

He had no intention of killing Jayde, and no motive, Mr Copley told Brisbane Supreme Court on Wednesday.

"He collected her from school on a school day at the usual time school ended," Mr Copley said.

Sexual misadventure might explain events that followed, he said.

"For years, the accused has been inclined to, and has acted upon an inclination, to apply force to the neck not just of girlfriends but also [casual sexual partners]," Mr Copley said.

"The defence says ... he caused her death unintentionally while engaged in sexual activity in the vicinity of the parked car in Upper Tenthill."

Mr Copley said his client put her tracksuit pants on her, covered the body with grass and drove off.

Jayde's body was found 13 days after she vanished, in long grass near Allens Rd in Upper Tenthill.

Mr Bennetts, now 21, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter, a plea the Crown rejected.

Crown prosecutor Vicki Loury said he offered "wooden and artificial speech" during police interviews and spoke a "load of rubbish" about what happened that day.

For 13 days, he let Jayde Kendall's family search for her, and when questioned about the missing schoolgirl "all he did was to tell lies", she said.

"Only he will ever know what happened," Ms Loury told jurors.

She said the pair made a plan, even a vague one, to "engage in some sort of sexual activity".

The prosecution used CCTV footage, bank records, phone logs and witness statements to piece together possible routes Mr Bennetts took from Gatton after meeting Jayde.

At one point he was "quite clearly" on his way to Upper Tenthill, Ms Loury said.

"You don't know where he killed her, of course," she told jurors. "You only know he ultimately dumps her body ... he hides her, covers her in grass."

Security cameras caught him accessing Jayde's account at a Gatton ATM, shielding his face, from 5.44pm to 5.47pm on that same day.

"He has by this stage killed Jayde Kendall, disposed of her body, and now he's stealing money from her account," Ms Loury told the jury.

It was risible, she said, to suggest Jayde voluntarily handed over her PIN.

The jury retired on Wednesday afternoon to consider its verdict and will continue deliberating on Thursday. - NewsRegional

Topics:  court editors picks gatton jayde kendall murder


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