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How child killer Justin Stein will be forever watching his back when he’s jailed for Charlise Mutten’s murder – despite prison bosses hiding him away in protective custody

Justin Stein blinked rapidly when he was declared a child murderer on Wednesday, then waved to the side in an attempt to make a case for the jury, as if the truth that he was a convicted murderer was just taking hold.

But on Thursday morning, when he woke up in his cell at the massive Metropolitan Remand and Reception Center in Sydney’s west, the reality is said to have sunk in.

The 34-year-old’s journeys from the MRRC in Silverwater to Parramatta Court for the trial and jury deliberations took six weeks.

Being taken in handcuffs from the cells to Court 5 may have given Stein a sense of dread at the impending sentence, but it also offered some relief from the monotony of prison.

Now that that’s over, Stein will be in the prison’s protection wing and – as a child murderer – he will be one of the most reviled inmates, along with child molesters.

Charlise Mutten was murdered by Justin Stein in January 2022

Charlise Mutten was murdered by Justin Stein in January 2022

Justin Stein buys sand from Bunnings to pour into the barrel where he placed Charlise Mutten's body after shooting her in the face

Justin Stein buys sand from Bunnings to pour into the barrel where he placed Charlise Mutten's body after shooting her in the face

Justin Stein buys sand from Bunnings to pour into the barrel where he placed Charlise Mutten’s body after shooting her in the face

During the trial, Crown prosecutor Ken McKay SC asked Stein if he knew why Charlise was clothed but not wearing underwear as she slept in his bed after she became ill and began vomiting on the eve of her murder on January 10, 2022.

Charlise stayed alone with Stein at his family property in Mount Wilson.

Stein was also asked whether he had given Charlise the antipsychotic drug Seroquel, which he was taking for his schizophrenia. The drug was found in her system after her death.

Stein denied any knowledge or guilt about these events.

He will be kept in custody in Silverwater for another nine weeks until he is sentenced on August 23, when he will be taken to court again in a prison van, with the location yet to be determined.

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Judge Helen Wilson will sentence Stein taking into account that his victim was a child under the age of ten who was in his care as a de facto stepfather.

Charlise had been on holiday over Christmas and New Year with her mother Kallista, Stein’s then fiancée, at the Stein family’s three homes when she was drugged and then shot in the face with a gun.

Stein also faces a charge of interfering with a corpse, which carries a maximum sentence of just two years.

But the grim facts about how Charlise was stuffed into a barrel and dumped could play a role in the length of his sentence.

The schoolgirl’s 33.5kg body was wrapped in a bag and tarpaulin, tied with tape and placed head first into a barrel intended for chemicals or food.

About 100kg of sand that Stein bought from Bunnings was poured over the child and the lid was screwed back on before the child was presumably rolled with its back into the bushes on the banks of the Colo River and rolled to a place where it was among clamped the tree trunks.

The barrel was there for five days in January 2022 before police found it and arrested Stein.

The nature of Charlise’s death and the publicity that accompanies it should keep the child killer under wraps for some time.

Justin Stein is currently in Silverwater Jail (above) in a protection wing, but will be transferred to a prison such as Goulburn or Lithgow after his conviction

Justin Stein is currently in Silverwater Jail (above) in a protection wing, but will be transferred to a prison such as Goulburn or Lithgow after his conviction

Justin Stein is currently in Silverwater Jail (above) in a protection wing, but will be transferred to a prison such as Goulburn or Lithgow after his conviction

Stein, who faces decades in prison, will be assigned his ‘prison sentence’ by a Corrective Services NSW committee.

This will be one of the state’s highest security prisons, Goulburn, Lithgow or the NSW Mid North Coast Correctional Center in Kempsey.

This is the big time. Stein, not a tall or muscular man and still quite young looking for someone in his mid-thirties, will come face to face with career criminals, drug dealers, violent offenders and murderers who do not take kindly to child murderers.

He is a mild-mannered, privately educated man from wealthy antique dealer parents, and although he previously served a prison sentence for trafficking cocaine, his shorter sentence at the time meant a mediocre or minimal security environment.

Stein will have 17 hours to spend each night in his 10-by-16-foot cell in Silverwater (above) and then to whatever

Stein will have 17 hours to spend each night in his 10-by-16-foot cell in Silverwater (above) and then to whatever

Stein will have 17 hours to spend each night in his 10-by-16-foot cell in Silverwater (above) and then to whatever “prison” he is sent to for a period of decades.

Charlise's gruesome end in this barrel that Stein dumped in the bush could affect the length of sentence he receives

Charlise's gruesome end in this barrel that Stein dumped in the bush could affect the length of sentence he receives

Charlise’s gruesome end in this barrel that Stein dumped in the bush could affect the length of sentence he receives

He has been diagnosed as schizophrenic and uses buprenorphine for a long-term heroin addiction.

Life for Stein will be a bore of days blending into each other, of wearing green prison clothes down to his underwear, of mornings in his cell with the standard breakfast pack of cereal, bread, jam and a carton of milk.

Then he can go into the garden, back to his cell at lunch for sandwiches and a piece of fruit, back into the garden and then back behind bars at 3 p.m. with a dinner of meat or fish and vegetables served in foil. tray.

Corrective Services Industries, staffed by inmates, makes “nutritionally balanced” meals with enticing names like “Thai vegetable curry” and “chicken polenta” and “ginger beef salad.”

But prisoners complain that they don’t have much taste and crave salty, greasy treats like McDonalds, which they can never have.

Prison food includes dishes served in foil bowls with enticing names like

Prison food includes dishes served in foil bowls with enticing names like

Prison food includes dishes served in foil bowls with enticing names like “Thai vegetable curry” and “chicken polenta” and “ginger beef salad,” but many prisoners just want McDonald’s

With dinner in hand, Stein spends 17 hours every night in his 10-by-16-foot cell. He gets access to a bolt-on TV and books.

With a long sentence awaiting him, Stein is given the opportunity to study, but it is believed that he has some learning difficulties that could hinder that.

If he is sentenced to Lithgow Correctional Centre, he faces a long series of freezing winters in the Blue Mountains prison, where icy winds are known to blow through the gardens.

If he goes to Goulburn, he is unlikely to be sent to the High Risk Management Security Correctional Center known as Supermax, which is for violent or problem prisoners.

He may end up at the Circle in the main prison where many people have been alive, including the murderers of Anita Cobby, now in their fifties and sixties, who have so far served 38 years of their life sentences for the beauty murder of Queen in 1986.

A person found guilty of murder in NSW can be imprisoned for life, but the judge can impose a fixed-term sentence, with a minimum non-parole period.

Aerial view of the courtyards in the old part of Goulburn's main prison, where Justin Stein was expected to spend decades for the murder of Charlie Mutten

Aerial view of the courtyards in the old part of Goulburn's main prison, where Justin Stein was expected to spend decades for the murder of Charlie Mutten

Aerial view of the courtyards in the old part of Goulburn’s main prison, where Justin Stein was expected to spend decades for the murder of Charlie Mutten

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