A father and son duo stand charged with the murder of an Australian girl, steeped in 'emo' culture. On Monday the trial began in the Supreme Court of South Australia in Adelaide.
Both the accused claimed they were not guilty of murder, but the father asked to plead guilty to manslaughter - a crime that would attract lesser sentence. However, prosecutors would not accept the plea.
AdvertisementOpening the trial, Prosecutor Tim Preston said schoolgirl Carly Ryan's body was found in the shallows at Port Elliot on February 20, 2007.
He said her distinctive "emo culture" clothing was in disarray, and she had numerous bruises, abrasions and lacerations to her face, neck and arms.
Carly was ensconced in the "emo" culture, in which people wear predominantly black clothing, heavy eye shadow and bright lipstick.
The jury heard the father had first seen a photo of Miss Ryan on the VampireFreaks social networking website. They allegedly got in touch with her through her friends.
Prosecutor Tim Preston said Miss Ryan completely believed in the fantasy of a 20-year-old, Texas-born, Victorian-based "emo" named Brandon.
"She spoke constantly to people, particularly her mother and cousin, about Brandon," Mr Preston said.
"She professed to love Brandon, and she believed that he loved her.
"But Brandon was fictitious, an internet construct, the cyberspace alter-ego of the (accused) father, the son or both of them."
He said the Brandon identity was operated by both of the accused, either in conjunction or at different times.
He said the father took on another identity when he travelled to Adelaide to attend Miss Ryan's 15th birthday.
While staying with Miss Ryan and her mother, he posed as Brandon's adopted father, "Shane".
Their charade continued after Miss Ryan rebuffed the father's sexual advances, and was eventually used to lure her to her death.
Carly also believed the father was going to buy a property in Adelaide for her and Brandon to live in, Mr Preston said.
In January 2007, the father visited Carly in Adelaide and bought her hundreds of dollars worth of clothing including a corset and lingerie, Mr Preston said.
He alleged the father had a sexual interest in Carly, saying a witness heard the man tell her: "I love you. I would never let anything happen to you. You are beautiful."
Carly told her mother the man had "touched her in a sexual way" before he returned to Victoria.
Mr Preston said another son of the man would tell the court his father told him he "wanted to go back to Adelaide and fix Carly up".
He said weeks later, the father and his co-accused son returned to Adelaide and they were seen with Carly at Victor Harbor, south of Adelaide, on February 19, 2007.
The next day, Carly's body was found floating in shallow waters at nearby Horseshoe Bay.
The trial is continuing.