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Woman bruised before her death, court hears

THE family of a woman murdered northwest of Ipswich told a court they saw her with bruises to her face two weeks before she was found dead in her house.

Kylie Hitchen, 35, was found dead in her Creek St home in Esk, about 60km from Ipswich, in January 2011.

Her de facto partner, Ronald Michael Craig, 48, has been charged with her murder and yesterday sat in the dock at Ipswich Magistrates Court for the committal hearing which is expected to last two days.

Kylie Hitchen's father Edward told the court he had never approved of Craig as his daughter's partner.

"I didn't approve of (Ron) - this was shared by all our family," Mr Hitchen said.

He told the court Kylie had suffered a fractured cheek from a "work accident", which he and his sons were hesitant to believe.

Kylie's brother Troy told the court Craig and Kylie's relationship became volatile after about 12 months.

"He'd started hitting her and getting violent (but) towards the end she said she can't take it anymore and started fighting back," Troy said. "She told me at my grandma's funeral and she had two bruises on her arms - they looked like thumb prints where she'd been held in an argument."

Troy said there had been another incident when the couple was living in St George and Kylie had called him late at night in a hysterical state, saying she had been punched and kicked by Craig.

"After the funeral I spoke to her a few times on the phone and was going to see her over Christmas," Troy said. "But (then) she was dead. I never got the chance to do that."

Kylie's brother Edward "John" Hitchen Jr recalled an incident in 2010 when he saw Craig slap his sister across the face.

John's girlfriend said she'd seen Kylie with the remnants of a black eye two weeks before her death, but hadn't inquired where she got the bruise.

The court heard Kylie wanted to stay with Craig because she loved him and wanted him to seek help and medication for his issues.

The hearing, before magistrate Donna MacCallum, continues Wednesday.

Topics:  court, murder committal, ronald michael craig


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