Wollongong Mother’s Accused Murderer All Smiles In Court
Kristie Powell was found dead on Friday. 29-year-old Bhanu Kirkman has been charged with murder.
As Kristie Powell's family embarks on one of the hardest things they'll ever do -- planning a funeral for the new mum -- her accused killer was all smiles.
Bhanu Kirkman waved and said ‘hello’ to reporters inside and outside court as he appeared on one count of murder.
The 29-year-old is accused of killing the Wollongong mother in a 16 minute window on Thursday night.
She was found dead inside her Bellambi home the following morning, her life with her five-month-old son cruelly cut short.
The murder sparked a four-day manhunt for the accused, which came to a head in Maitland on Monday afternoon, more than 200 kilometres from the alleged offence.
Detectives swarmed on the railway station, shocking passersby.
“We saw detectives running with firearms around the railway area,” local café owner Grant Alliban said.
A tip off from the public led police to a derelict building next to the railway station, where he was arrested and eventually charged with murder.
The abandoned Transport New South Wales demountables had become a shelter for Kirkman, with locals claiming to have seen him squatting there on and off for months.
Ten Eyewitness News reporters went there on Tuesday and found his swag, train timetables and other personal belongings still littering the room.
Owners of a nearby café, Val and Grant Alliban, said Kirkman was a regular patron, but only ever required hot water to boil his two-minute noodles.
“(He) just sat there like you and I would, ate his lunch and toddled off down the street,” Val told Ten Eyewitness News.
“He was here a month ago for probably about 5 days straight, camping in the same area and said he had some unfinished business.”
Kirkman faced Maitland Local Court on one murder charge and an outstanding warrant relating to possessing a knife at Central Railway Station.
He did not apply for bail, so it was formally refused by the court and he’ll be back before a Wollongong magistrate next week.
This all comes as the Powell family prepare to say their final goodbye to their beloved daughter and sister.
“There were three siblings, now there are only two, she was my parent's only daughter, now they don't have one. She was my nephew's mother, now he doesn't have one,” Kristie’s brother Ryan said.
“I had dinner with her Thursday night, only a few hours before the incident, and she was so happy, she was so happy because she had her child and that's all she wanted.”
The Wollongong community has created a GoFundMe Page to raise money for her little boy, to give him “the life and all of the opportunities he deserves and that Kristie always wanted”.
If you’d like to help out, visit https://www.gofundme.com/baby-powell-benefit