QLD_SM_NEWS_COLDCASE_02AUG14
QLD_SM_NEWS_COLDCASE_02AUG14

Wealthy uncle’s ‘skin and guts’ thrown in river, court told

A QUEENSLAND man accused of killing his wealthy uncle with a hammer 20 years ago "enjoyed" recounting the grisly details of the alleged murder, a court has heard.

Robert James Wagner, 57, has for the past few weeks been on trial in the Brisbane Supreme Court for the murder of Gerhard Wagner, 61, at his Robert Wagner's Brisbane home on January 7, 1999.

During the trial, Crown Prosecutor Phil McCarthy alleged Robert Wagner invited his uncle over to his home, killed him with a hammer and disposed of his motorbike before dismembering his body with an axe.

Wagner is accused of dumping the bones in the Glass House Mountains at the Sunshine Coast.

The trial heard Gerhard Wagner was last seen riding his motorbike about 3pm on January 7, 20 years ago, after working on his 42-foot yacht at a Brisbane marina.

Wagner was charged with the murder in 2014.

Gerhard Wagner was last seen on January 7, 1999.
Gerhard Wagner was last seen on January 7, 1999.

During his closing address to the jury on Monday, Mr McCarthy said Wagner had allegedly confessed to a friend years later that he had killed his uncle.

The friend said the man told him he had lured his uncle over to the home before killing him with a hammer.

Wagner allegedly told the friend over a series of days he cut pieces off the body using a knife, the hammer and an axe.

The friend later said: "It was like he was enjoying telling me".

The court also heard Wagner had allegedly disposed of his uncle's "skin and guts" in the Brisbane River or another river in Brisbane before taking the bones to the Glass House Mountains.

Mr McCarthy said the friend had told police Wagner said he went back to the spot where he had allegedly disposed of the body about three years later and "rescattered" the bones because they were visible.

The court heard Wagner claimed he had an outstanding debt to his uncle of $80,000 at the time of his disappearance but there was evidence the debt had previously been as high as $380,000.

The court heard Wagner's cousin had arrived at the property during the alleged killing and the man muffled his uncle's voice with his hand when he heard the woman at the door.

About seven days after Gerhard Wagner went missing, Wagner is alleged to have bought cleaning acids, the court also heard.

Defence barrister David Funch told the court in his closing address on Monday there was no evidence Gerhard Wagner was in fact dead.

He said just because a person goes missing "doesn't mean they've been murdered".

Mr Funch told the jury Mr Wagner had suffered from dizzy spells and it wasn't impossible he had fallen from his boat into the Brisbane Marina, which was never searched by police divers.

"There is a complete absence of any hard forensic evidence he was killed," Mr Funch said.

Justice Peter Applegarth will sum up the case following the closing submissions.