MURDER accused George Robert Ballantyne once declared that his love for Clare Weston would last ‘‘forever and always’’.
The couple had been together for just four months when Ms Weston’s body was found, partly naked, lying on the swollen banks of the Hunter River at Aberglasslyn.
Mr Ballantyne, 30, of Evans Street at Greta, was not brought into Maitland Local Court on Mondayto face a murder charge, and he was formally refused bail.
Police will allege that Mr Ballantyne scuffled with Ms Weston some time after 2am on Sunday before dragging her down an embankment and leaving her lying in a pool of water near the Melville Ford Bridge.
Her body was found about 8am the same day.
Police will allege she was found face down with her knees and back out of the water.
They allege women’s underpants were found nearby and a pair of denim jeans were in a nearby tree.
Mr Ballantyne and Ms Weston allegedly drove to the site to talk.
Mr Ballantyne, a store person at a mine, walked into Maitland police station about 5.30pm on Sunday and was subsequently charged.
Police will allege Mr Ballantyne later escorted them on a walk-through of the crime scene.
Police also seized clothing and a motor vehicle from his parents’ house at Greta, where the couple had been living.
On Facebook, Mr Ballantyne had appeared to post messages about their budding relationship in November and December, describing Ms Weston as ‘‘my soulmate’’ and ‘‘my world, my everything’’.
On a picture of the couple kissing, Ballantyne wrote: ‘‘Cant b broken forever and always’’.
Tributes poured in on Mondayfor Ms Weston, a 23-year-old mother of two.
Friends posted photographs and tributes on a Facebook page created in her honour.
‘‘Taken too early from this world leaving behind … the rest of the family who love her very much,’’ uncle Frank Weston wrote.
Jenny Sherwen wrote: ‘‘RIP Clare, loved you since you were born, loved watching you grow into the person that you grew to be.’’