Churchgoers 'elated' for public to see girl resurrect

A religious group accused of killing an eight-year-old girl were "elated" by a police investigation as more people would see when God resurrected her, a judge has heard.

Elizabeth Struhs died at the family home in Toowoomba, west of Brisbane, on January 7, 2022 after her parents and 12 others allegedly withheld her diabetes insulin medication for six days.

Crown prosecutor Caroline Marco said Elizabeth's father, Jason Richard Struhs, had waited 36 hours after learning of her death before calling an ambulance.

Fourteen religious group members believed God would heal a young girl's diabetes without insulin.

"Mr Struhs (to police) said he told everyone even though God would still raise Elizabeth, he couldn't leave a corpse in the house, he could not leave her lying there forever," Ms Marco said.

After police arrested Jason Struhs and Elizabeth's mother, 49-year-old Kerrie Elizabeth Struhs, other members of the group were happy that police were investigating.

"The mother of (defendant) Samantha Emily Schoenfisch said she was elated as she explained they had to contact authorities to take Elizabeth's body away but that must be because God wants more people to see her rise," Ms Marco said.

Ms Marco said Elizabeth's parents and other defendants were present during Elizabeth's last days and on January 8 after she had died in the night.

"They gathered to pray for the rising of Elizabeth. They believed God would raise her from the dead so she could walk amongst them again," Ms Marco said.

The religious group of six men and eight women, who called themselves 'the Saints', faced their second day at trial on Thursday after they refused to enter pleas in Brisbane Supreme Court.

Jason Struhs, 52, and the Saints leader Brendan Luke Stevens, 62, are charged with murder while Kerrie Struhs and the others are charged with manslaughter.

Ms Marco said Jason Struhs had been under continuous pressure from the other defendants to join the Saints and reject man-made treatments.

Prosecutor Caroline Marco (centre) arrives at Brisbane Supreme Court
Caroline Marco (centre) said Jason Struhs was pressured not to administer insulin to his daughter.

“Pressure was brought on Jason Struhs to change ... to persuade him not to administer insulin under their fundamental tenet that God heals," Ms Marco said.

Ms Marco described the Saints as a "small congregation with extreme beliefs" that had split off from a church in Brisbane.

Jason Struhs agreed to be baptised into the Saints in August 2021 while his wife was serving a five-month sentence for neglecting to provide Elizabeth with medical treatment in 2019, which nearly proved fatal.

Ms Marco said Elizabeth had happily watched as her father was baptised into a faith that would soon convince him at first to withhold medical care and then wait for God to bring her back to life.

"In the video (of the baptism), Your Honour can see Mr Struhs submerged in a trough of water and Mr Stevens speaking in tongues ... members of the congregation singing and see Elizabeth's joy at her father being baptised," Ms Marco said.

Ms Marco said Jason Struhs continued to provide insulin for Elizabeth's type-1 diabetes, leading to further attempts to get him to stop.

Stevens wrote to Kerrie Struhs in November 2021 saying he was praying for Jason Struhs "not to put off" having God heal Elizabeth.

Jason Struhs told police he decided he could not be "half and half" about his faith and stopped giving Elizabeth her rapid-acting insulin on January 1, 2022.

Crown prosecutor Caroline Marco
Caroline Marco said Elizabeth Struhs had watched with joy as her father was baptised.

After this made the Saints "happy" he ceased her remaining slow-release insulin doses, he told police.

Elizabeth continued to get sicker and police recovered deleted photos that depicted the congregation gathered around her unconscious body, Ms Marco said.

The other accused are Zachary Alan Struhs, Loretta Mary Stevens, Therese Maria Stevens, Andrea Louise Stevens, Acacia Naree Stevens, Camellia Claire Stevens, Alexander Francis Stevens, Sebastian James Stevens, Keita Courtney Martin and Lachlan Stuart Schoenfisch.

The youngest was 21 years old while the eldest was 67.

The judge-only trial is expected to go for 11 weeks with the first ambulance and police officers to discover Elizabeth's body likely to be the first witnesses.

Lifeline 13 11 14

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 (for people aged 5 to 25)

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