Witness saw partner running: court told

AN accused killer's partner was seen running from where one of his alleged victims was found months after the grisly discovery, a court has heard.

John Lewis Thorn was allegedly shot dead in dense Lake Leake bushland in August 2006.

Kalangadoo man Stephen Roy Standage has pleaded not guilty to Mr Thorn's murder.

He has also pleaded not guilty to killing 37-year-old Ronald Frederick Jarvis in July 1992.

Lake Leake couple Rodney and Rosemary Bowerman gave evidence in the Supreme Court hearing against Mr Standage yesterday.

Both witnesses said they did not know Mr Standage or his partner Liz Lord well at the time Mr Thorn was killed.

The court heard shortly after 6 o'clock on a morning in October 2006, Mr and Mrs Bowerman drove past a junction leading to where the slain man's body was discovered.

The witnesses gave evidence of seeing a car each recognised as Mr Standage's parked opposite the junction.

The jury heard Ms Lord then ran out in front of the Bowerman's vehicle as she crossed the road towards the parked car.

"She ran across the road out of the track and around the back of the vehicle," Mrs Bowerman said.

"I said to my husband `That's quite strange ... it's strange to see Liz there'."

Defence lawyer Tamara Jago, SC, put it to both witnesses they did not see Ms Lord at the junction.

Each witness denied the suggestion.

"You can suggest all you like - I know what I saw," Mrs Bowerman said.

Neither witness recalled seeing anybody else near or inside the vehicle.

Later, the court heard from former Lake Leake chalet operator Michael Rigby, who had helped search for Mr Thorn.

The witness said he looked in vain for Mr Thorn on the night he disappeared, before going to the house of the missing man's partner, Susan Mary Fletcher.

Mr Rigby said Mr Standage was present at the house, offering him advice in relation to the disappearance.

"He just said not to worry because (Thorn) is more likely at a pub somewhere," Mr Rigby said.

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