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

Aaron Bunch
Accused Qld murderer ‘gave himself away’

A cash-strapped Queensland man accused of murdering his wealthy uncle over money accidentally outed himself for the crime to two ex-cops, his trial has heard.

June 18, 2019

Tipsy on free whiskey, a cash-strapped Queensland man accused of murdering his wealthy uncle accidentally outed himself to two ex-cops at a strip joint, his trial has been told.

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.

In evidence read out to the Brisbane Supreme Court, the accused’s former business partner and ex-policeman, Peter James Snow, says Wagner gave himself away by revealing too much when he described the crime.

During a gentleman’s lunch in Brisbane about six months after Gerhard Wagner disappeared, Mr Snow said he and another former policeman, Milton Doyle, called Wagner out on his denials to the murder allegations.

“Milton challenged Robert at this point … words to the effect of ‘you described how the police have said what you did to your uncle’,” Mr Snow said in a recorded police interview from 2014.

“‘(But) how could the police have told you this if they haven’t found the body?’,” he said Mr Doyle asked Wagner.

“‘How would police know you dismembered the body, put it in plastic bags and then hessian bags before disposing of the parts – or is that you describing exactly what you did’?,” the now-deceased Mr Snow said Mr Doyle asked again.

Mr Snow said Wagner was shocked by the allegation and his usually ruddy complexion turned white.

“He started to stammer and stutter and shake – Robert looked like he was about to cry,” he said.

Gerhard Wagner was last seen riding his motorbike about 3pm on January 7 after working on his 42-foot 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 on Tuesday.

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