Teacher's world shattered after witnessing alleged murder
IN THE utopian world of vegan trainee kindergarten teacher Hannah Louise Quinn, the closest thing to murder was the carnivores on the planet killing animals for food.
"Meat is murder" reads the slogan on one T-shirt worn by the idealistic university student whose Facebook moniker is "Hannah hugs trees".
Saving the planet is a clear ambition for the 23-year-old whose Facebook posts joke that picking flowers is murder and discuss the harm done by leaf-eating beetles.
But the nature lover's perfect world has now been turned upside down as she finds herself accused of a bloody killing on a Sydney street.
Ms Quinn was charged with murder on Monday, locked up in police cells, handcuffed and taken by prison van to Australia's toughest women's jail, Silverwater Women's Correctional Facility.
Nothing in the previous life of the trainee pre-school teacher and barista could have prepared her for the shock of prison induction, the protection yard and the steel toilet of her 3m by 4m cell.
Ms Quinn is the daughter of an anti-whaling and coal mining, pro-vegan mother and an award-winning cafe owner and former private schoolboy father.
Her jetsetting father, Dean Hintz, has owned a cafe on Hong Kong's premier shopping street, and now owns Miettas in the up-market Brisbane suburb of Coorparoo.
Until a week ago, Ms Quinn was studying early childcare teaching at Petersham TAFE, and making coffees for a Manly cafe on Sydney's northern beaches.
She had joined a Sydney council's "Green Army" to plant 30,000 trees and increase habitat for birds, reptiles and mammals.
Ms Quinn is believed to have been living in the inner city suburb of Redfern with her mother, Megan, who has campaigned on Facebook for the ABC, against child refugees on Nauru and "hard-right MPs".
Ms Quinn began dating 28-year-old actor Blake Davis, a martial arts expert with performing TV credits on Housos and My Kitchen Rules.
A court heard the young couple spent Thursday night last week at his Hereford Street, Forest Lodge flat in inner western Sydney.
They woke late and Ms Quinn walked to a local cafe to get coffees and a smashed avocado toasted sandwich for her, and a bacon and egg roll for her boyfriend, a court heard.
About 12.40pm on Friday, August 10, the idyllic world of Ms Quinn changed irrevocably.
A shattered Ms Quinn sobbed uncontrollably in her Silverwater Women's Prison video booth yesterday as the barrister hired by her family, the eminent Tom Hughes, described in court what allegedly happened next.
She wrung her hands, gasped in deep breaths and wept into the sleeves of her prison green sweatshirt as Mr Hughes spoke to Newtown Local Court.
In the court were her mother, father, brothers Dominic and Elliot and a LGBTIQ community supporter.
Mr Hughes told the court Ms Quinn had just gone into the couple's bedroom with their breakfast and "was sitting on the edge of the bed when through a glass door" came a man.
He said the man was dressed all in black and "wearing a balaclava, armed with a replica pistol and pepper spray".
Ms Quinn allegedly said to the man, "who the f*** are you?".
"He demanded money," Mr Hughes told the court. "A neighbour … heard Blake Davis say 'we don't have any money'."
Described by Mr Hughes as the "ultimate home invader", the man in the balaclava was 30-year-old Sydney rap artist Jett McKee, known as "Scepaz".
Mr Hughes told Newtown Magistrate Margaret Quinn that McKee had previously borrowed $31,000 from his parents to repay a Sydney Star casino gambling debt.
"Unfortunately, he continued to use poker machines," Mr Hughes said.
McKee also lived in Hereford Street, Forest Lodge, although it has been said in court that the performer did not know the couple living in the granny flat up the road.
Police allege McKee punched Mr Davis in the face with a set of knuckledusters, but that Mr Davis then picked up the samurai sword.
Mr Hughes said McKee told Ms Quinn, "you don't want to get hurt. I will shoot you. There's lots more people than me that will shoot you."
McKee allegedly then took off with a bag from the granny flat chased by Ms Quinn, and Mr Davis following with the sword.
Mr Hughes said "there is no suggestion Quinn knew Davis was" in possession of the sword.
When she caught up with McKee, Mr Hughes said, she "grabs the bag, he turned around, attempted to punch her. He fell".
Police allege that Ms Quinn grabbed McKee's jacket and pushed him to the ground.
Mr Davis then "swung the samurai sword downwards impacting on (McKee's) skull", Mr Hughes alleged.
He said Ms Quinn then asked Mr Davis, "what the f*** have you done?"
As Mr Hughes described to the court how McKee began staggering before finally falling and dying at a street intersection, Ms Quinn continued to cry and exhale heavily in the prison video booth.
Police allege Ms Quinn and Mr Davis hid in an alcove. Detectives later allegedly found mobile phones and $21,000 in cash.
Mr Hughes said the couple spent the weekend going "from hotel to hotel" for three days.
The pair handed themselves into Newtown Police Station on Monday and each was charged with murder.
A second charge of accessory after the fact of murder was laid against Ms Quinn yesterday.
Police prosecutors did not oppose Ms Quinn being granted bail, but disputed Mr Hughes' claim that the prosecution case was "weak".
The court heard that the police case of a joint criminal enterprise between Ms Quinn and Mr Davis was "powerful".
"The accused runs after the deceased, takes hold of him, brings him to the ground. Almost immediately the co-accused takes aim and swings the sword," prosecutors alleged in court.
Ms Quinn was released on strict bail conditions and will live at her mother's Redfern home until her next court appearance with Mr Davis, who remains in custody, in October.
Mr Hughes told the court that Ms Quinn's family had "limited financial means" and could provide a total $60,000 surety, but that was "a real stretch".
He later said that a relieved Ms Quinn had been "terrified" by her brief first time in prison.
Last night, Ms Quinn emerged from Silverwater Correctional Complex wearing sunglasses and wrapped in a blanket, free for now from life as an inmate in maximum security.
The lesser charge of accessory after the fact of murder carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.