The man accused of killing Sydney woman Samah Baker drove to McDonald’s and went for a job interview with her body in the boot of the car, a court has heard.
James Hachem, 34, from Hurstville Grove, pleaded not guilty in the New South Wales Supreme Court in June to murdering the 30-year-old in January 2019.
Ms Baker was last seen when a friend dropped her home in Early Street, Parramatta, in the early hours of January 4.
Relatives reported her missing later that day after failing to contact her. Ms Baker’s body was never found.
Samah Baker, 30 (pictured) was last seen after a friend dropped her home in Early Street, Parramatta, in the early hours of January 4 2019. Her body has never been found
During a bail hearing at the New South Wales Supreme Court on Thursday, Hachem’s Defence barrister Daniel McMahon argued the charges against his client were purely ‘circumstantial’ because no body had been found.
‘There is no body, no crime scene,’ Mr McMahon told the court, according to The Daily Telegraph.
‘How then does he manage to kill Ms Baker without anybody knowing and without any evidence of a struggle?’ Mr McMahon said.
A search of bushland around Goulburn and South Nowra, in regional New South Wales failed to uncover any trace of the young woman.
Mr McMahon told the court there was no proof the accused travelled to a rural area to dispose of a body.
But Crown Prosecutors allege they have DNA evidence linking Hachem to the alleged murder.
James Hachem is accused of murdering his on-again-off again lover in a ‘crime of passion’.
The court heard the pair were ‘friends with benefits’.
Crown prosecutor Fiona Gray told the court Hachem killed Ms Baker inside her apartment building before he stashed the body in his car while he went about daily life.
The court was told he left her corpse inside the car for five-and-a-half hours after a pit stop to McDonalds in North Parramatta and later, a job interview.
The car was parked inside the Westfield Shopping Centre at Hurstville for the duration of this time, the court heard.
Ms Gray said Hachem was later seen buying a series of suspicious items including gloves, plastic bags and cleaning items before leaving Sydney towards Canberra.
He also allegedly bought a tool to dig with.
James Hachem, 34 (pictured) is accused of leaving Ms Baker’s corpse inside the car for five and a half hours after a pit stop to McDonalds in North Parramatta and a subsequent job interview
A later search of his family home allegedly uncovered Ms Baker’s blood on a scrap of carpet hidden inside his wardrobe, prosecutors say.
But Hachem’s defence barrister said the scrap of carpet was ‘at best peripheral forensic evidence’ against him.
Mr McMahon argued Ms Baker had a history of mental illness and self-harm, including threatening to throw herself in front of a train in a previous relationship.
He also disputed allegations by the prosecution his client would seek to destroy evidence or pretend to be Ms Baker on social media if he was released on bail.
Justice Geoffrey Bellew reserved his bail decision during Thursday’s court proceedings.
Hachem could remain behind bars for two-and-a-half years before his trial is heard.