Kimberley Fesus told a Wollongong court on Thursday she believed her father Steve was innocent of her mother’s murder.
‘‘I know he couldn’t do anything like this. I know he wouldn’t do anything like this,’’ she said.
Fesus is accused of killing his then-18-year-old wife Jodie, Kimberley’s mother, at their Mount Warrigal home sometime on August 11, 1997.
It is alleged he dumped her body in a shallow grave at Seven Mile Beach, where it was found a month later.
At the time Fesus made an emotional plea to the public to help find his wife’s killer.
Sixteen years later, it is his name police have settled on, charging the 43-year-old in July this year with a single count of murder.
But Fesus maintains he is an innocent man, and it appears his family are of the same belief.
During court proceedings on Thursday, Fesus’ lawyer, Dennis Maralis, said both Kimberley, 18, and her brother Dylan, 17, were devastated by their father’s arrest, but were sticking by him.
In letters from the pair, read out in court, both children pleaded for their father to be released on bail so he could be reunited with his family.
‘‘I’ve had to grow up so fast,’’ Dylan said, admitting when his father was taken into custody he’d been left with nowhere to live, eventually moving in with his sister.
‘‘It hurt me so much when he went to jail’’.
For Kimberley, there was another, more personal reason she wanted her father by her side.
‘‘I’m going to have a baby - he doesn’t know but he’s going to be a pop,’’ she announced on Thursday.
The news prompted her father to burst into tears.
In arguing for Fesus’ release on bail, Mr Moralis said the prosecution case against his client was totally absent of any forensic evidence pointing to him as the killer.
He said police had even gone so far as to test the grass matter from his car’s undercarriage to see if it matched the type of vegetation growing at Seven Mile Beach; it didn’t.
‘‘There’s no forensic evidence linking Mr Fesus to the death, no DNA evidence, nothing,’’ he said.
Mr Moralis told the court far from being a criminal, Fesus was a ‘‘loving and caring person’’ who had never been in trouble before and had ‘‘never caused any trouble for anyone’’.
However, prosecutor Dave Coulton painted a very different picture of Fesus, alleging he was a man who had violently strangled his young wife to death in a fit of anger, then lied about it for 16 years.
Mr Coulton rejected defence claims the prosecution had little in the way of a case against Fesus, instead suggesting the evidence pointing to Fesus as the murderer was ‘‘overwhelming’’.
Magistrate Michael Stoddart said based on the evidence before him the prosecution case appeared to be strong.
He refused to let Fesus out on bail and relisted the matter for November.
Parts of Thursday’s hearing are subject to an ongoing non-publication order imposed by the court, meaning the Mercury is unable to report on certain details of the case.