Aaron Bunch Journalist with Australian Associated Press | Collection of published work | + 61 484 008 119 | abunch@aap.com.au

Aaron Bunch
Accused Qld murderer confessed: ex-cop

A former Queensland police officer says accused murderer Robert Wagner confessed to killing his wealthy uncle during a heated discussion.

June 17, 2019

A cash-strapped Queensland man accused of murdering his wealthy uncle over money confessed his crime to a “petrified” former police officer, a trial has heard.

Robert James Wagner, 57, is accused of murdering Gerhard Wagner, 61, at his Brisbane home on January 7, 1999, amid a row over money.

It’s alleged Wagner invited his uncle over, killed him, dismembered his body with an axe and dumped it in the Glass House Mountains.

He has pleaded not guilty to the murder.

On Monday, former Queensland police officer Milton Lesley Doyle told the Brisbane Supreme Court Wagner had attempted to recruit him to help move Gerhard Wagner’s prized 42-foot yacht.

“Petrified” he was about to become an accessory to a crime after hearing of the allegations against Wagner, Mr Doyle confronted Wagner.

“I was screaming it in the end and I said: ‘Did you kill him or not? Just tell me, just tell me’,” he said.

“At some stage, he did say to me: ‘Yes I knocked my uncle or I knocked my uncle off’.

“I was shitting myself … because I was worried about getting pinched,” Mr Doyle said.

“It’s called being an accessory after the fact.”

Earlier, in a recorded police interview from 2014, the accused’s former business partner Peter James Snow says he recalls Wagner’s hunt for an alibi.

“Wagner had a couple of drinks and was starting to loosen up a little bit and was talking about Gerry (Gerhard),” he said.

“(He asked) if anyone can help him. I think at one stage, from memory, he offered money for someone to give him an alibi.”

The now-deceased Mr Snow said he first met Wagner six months after Gerhard Wagner was alleged to have disappeared.

The pair went on to start a coffee machine business in Brisbane but it failed soon after opening and their friendship dissolved.

Wagner told him about the murder allegations against him soon after they met, Mr Snow said.

“At the time I took him on face value,” he said.

“But hindsight can be a wonderful thing because at the end of the day, things weren’t adding up.”

A former employee of the men remembers Wagner differently.

Nicole Sevoir agreed with defence barrister David Funch that Wagner treated her like a sister and was very supportive.

Gerhard Wagner was last seen riding his motorbike about 3pm on January 7 after working on his yacht at a Brisbane marina.

He had a dinner date that night and had been planning to sail around the world.

But the former merchant seaman didn’t turn up for the date and his body has never been found.

The trial continues.

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