MUAY Thai kickboxer Sayle Kenneth Newson has been committed to stand trial for the murder of his girlfriend of about eight weeks, mother-of-two Carly Dawn McBride.
Mr Newson, represented by solicitor Mark Ramsland, appeared in Newcastle Local Court via audio visual link from jail on Wednesday where he was committed to face a trial for the murder of Ms McBride, 31.
He will next appear in Sydney Supreme Court on September 7 where he will be arraigned and formally plead not guilty to murder.
Mr Newson's co-accused, James Anthony Cunneen, now 27, had the murder charge against him dropped on Wednesday. In its place, prosecutors laid a charge of accessory after the fact to murder.
Detectives had alleged Mr Cunneen engaged in a joint criminal enterprise with Mr Newson to murder Ms McBride, but now say her former boyfriend is solely responsible for her murder while Mr Cunneen helped dump Ms McBride's body.
DPP solicitor Kristy Mulley said it was hoped Mr Cunneen’s matter would ultimately be heard in the Supreme Court alongside Mr Newson.
However, while that application was being determined, Mr Cunneen was committed for trial to Newcastle District Court on August 23.
Outside court, Ms McBride’s parents, Lorraine Williams and Steve McBride, said while the development in Mr Cunneen’s matter had come as a surprise, they were pleased the matter was moving swiftly and praised detectives and the DPP for their tireless work.
Mr Newson, Ms McBride and Mr Cunneen all met at Dooralong Transformation Centre, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre west of Wyong, in September and October, 2013.
They all left the centre at different times and for different reasons, but in early August, 2014, Ms McBride and Mr Newson, a Muay Thai kickboxer who bragged to police about having a 20-0 record, began a relationship.
Between that time and Ms McBride's death, Mr Newson would drive her to visit her daughter at her ex-partner's house in Calgaroo Avenue, Muswellbrook on at least five occasions.
This was the location she was last seen leaving about 2pm on September 30, 2014.
Detectives allege that Mr Newson "intercepted" Ms McBride before she got to Muswellbrook McDonald’s and murdered her between 2pm and 5pm, dumping her body in a remote area of bushland near Bunnan Road at Owens Gap, about 17 kilometres north-west of Scone.
After extensive searches, Ms McBride's remains were found on August 7, 2016, nearly two years after her disappearance and death.
A post-mortem examination identified significant blunt force trauma to her face and back of her head, which was consistent with at least two blows to the skull and two to her back.
Her phone and handbag have never been recovered.
Police arrested and charged Mr Newson on June 19, 2017.
The case against him is entirely circumstantial.
There was no blood found in his vehicle, no known witnesses to the crime, no CCTV, no DNA and police don't know where the alleged murder occurred.
The trial is expected to start in Newcastle Supreme Court next year.