Vengeful inmates are already threatening to kill the man accused of murdering nine-year-old Charlise Mutten as news of his alleged crimes spreads 'like wildfire' through prison cells - but his close friend insists he 'doesn't have a bad bone in his body'.
Justin Stein, 31, is charged with the murder of Charlise - who was soon to become his stepdaughter - with police alleging she was killed with a single gunshot wound.
He remains at Silverwater Correctional Facility in mandatory Covid isolation but is due to be moved out into a cell in the coming days.
When the former Cranbrook private schoolboy was arrested, he is understood to have immediately asked his mate to call his mum and ask her to find a lawyer.
Hours later, that newly-appointed lawyer urged a magistrate in Central Local Court to place Stein into protection for the duration of his stay in custody.
A Sydney prison guard told Daily Mail Australia Stein sought protection for good reason as other prisoners were 'itching to get their hands on him'.
The friend who made the call, and whose couch Stein had been crashing on in Sydney's Surry Hills when he was arrested on January 18, has since come out in support of his mate - saying he didn't believe he was capable of such a killing.
He even pointed toward a 'mystery person' he believes may be responsible for Charlise's death.
Justin Stein, 31, (pictured) is accused of murdering Charlise - who was soon to become his stepdaughter - with police alleging she was killed by a single gunshot wound. But a close mate called Jason has leapt to his defence
Charlise Mutten (pictured) was allegedly murdered between 7pm Tuesday January 11 and 10am Wednesday January 12
'I think there's a mystery person in the car, that no one seems to be talking about … Who is it?' the man, called Jason, asked when speaking on a true crime podcast about what witnesses saw when Charlise went missing.
'The neighbours heard it, saw it go through the gate. If the neighbours heard and saw it, why didn't anyone else hear it?
'That car took the little girl … It’s not hard to work out.'
The claims come as word of Stein's alleged crime has spread through Sydney's prison cells, and several prisoners have threatened to kill him.
Inmates often find out about news and current affairs through newspapers supplied to the prisons, watching the bulletins on television or through conversations with family and friends, and threats are increasingly being made against Stein's life behind bars.
Justin Stein (pictured), has been charged over the grisly death after Charlise's body which was discovered in a barrel near the Colo River near Sydney's Blue Mountains following a five day search
Stein remains at Silverwater Correctional Facility (pictured) in mandatory Covid isolation but is due to be moved out into his cell in the coming days
Stein stayed in a shack on the five-hectare Wildenstein property (pictured) in past years, friends said
John Heffernan, a former prison boss who penned the tell-all book The Last Governor, told Daily Mail Australia this sort of dialogue is not unexpected in a case like Charlise's.
'There is no doubt some would dearly love to get their hands on [the accused] and severely injure him or worse,' he said.
'That said, their chances of them doing that are remote.'
Police say Stein has so far exercised his right to silence, while his fiancé - Charlise's mother Kallista - has been reinterviewed and is being treated as a witness.
She suffered a medical episode during initial questioning and spent several days in hospital under medical guard before she was able to speak to detectives again.
Stein faced Central Local Court the day after his arrest, still wearing his Everlast hoodie from the night before and keeping his head down.
His lawyer did not apply for bail but stressed the importance of protection for the duration of his stay in custody.
Charlise (pictured) had been staying at the Wildenstein property with Stein and her biological mother over the New Years-Christmas holidays when she first went missing
Pictured: CCTV of a red ute - allegedly owned by Stein - with an object in the tray covered with blue tarp and towing a boat through Drummoyne toward a boat ramp. Police allege Stein drove around for hours with Charlise's body in his car
Stein was arrested in this Surry Hills apartment after the grisly discovery. He was sleeping on his mate Jason's couch
The plea was refused, with the magistrate explaining he did not have the jurisdiction to grant protection and that it was a matter for correctional services.
His lawyer asked the court for a 12 week adjournment to seek a mental health assessment, noting he's been on 'long term medication' that treats bipolar and psychosis.
Mr Heffernan said Stein will likely be granted his protection request and will be closely monitored by staff, who are responsible for his safety.
'Some inmates would openly talk about what they would like to do [to someone accused of child murder] but most of it is just talk.
'As stated their opportunity to get to the inmate would be virtually nil and inmates would be completely aware of his housing arrangements.'
Pictured: Charlise as a toddler with her mother Kallista. The youngster lived with her grandmother in Queensland
CCTV of a vehicle with a boat trailer at Mardsen Park and Drummoyne - allegedly belonging to accused Justin Stein
Stein's longtime friend Jason said he truly believes Stein 'doesn't have a bad bone in his body'.
He couldn't remember a time in their 20-year friendship that he'd seen Stein lash out or act aggressively.
'I'll back Justin until the day I die,' he said.
'[Violence] is not in his nature. He’s a lover, not a fighter. I’ve never seen him get violent, he hardly even swears. Let alone hit people, let alone kill a girl, like come on.'
Jason never met Charlise and it's understood this summer