Dead man's son tells court of 'sinking feeling'

A MURDERED man's son has described the ``sinking feeling'' of hearing of his father's disappearance, and the confusion and shock at discovering his body.

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

His body was found two days later.

The victim's son, Adam Thorn, gave evidence yesterday in the Supreme Court hearing in Hobart against his accused killer.

Kalangadoo man Stephen Roy Standage has pleaded not guilty to the murder.

He has also pleaded not guilty to killing Ronald Frederick Jarvis at Nugent in 1992.

The court heard Adam Thorn was living in Victoria at the time of his father's disappearance, and had received a call from the victim's partner, Susan Fletcher, on the night he went missing.

``She said dad hadn't returned home,'' Mr Thorn told the jury.

``I just had a sinking feeling that something was wrong.''

Mr Thorn gave evidence his father was ``obsessed'' with cutting firewood, and said he was worried he had hurt himself after learning his chainsaw was also unaccounted for.

The court heard Mr Thorn boarded a freight plane bound for Tasmania later that night, and helped search for his father from dawn until nightfall the next day.

The search continued the following day, with the witness joining crews to scour an area around where the victim's vehicle had been found.

Mr Thorn said he and two search party members had set off north of the vehicle to look for his father, after gaining permission to look beyond the boundaries of the designated search area.

Mr Thorn gave evidence he and the searchers soon found signs of disturbance in bushland around a little-used track.

The court heard as the three men inspected a freshly cut sapling with a nail protruding from it, Mr Thorn saw something out of the corner of his eye.

``It was like a fleck of colour in the bush,'' Mr Thorn said.

``I ran over immediately to see what it was . . . it was my father's body.''

The witness described being tackled to the ground as he tried to reach his father, and being taken from the area.

``I remember holding onto the tree and I wouldn't let go because they were trying to pull me away,'' he said.

``I was just in a state of shock.''

Earlier, the court heard Mr Thorn was aware his father grew and sold marijuana, and that he planned to grow more cannabis crops in 2006 to pay off an outstanding fine.

The witness said in the months leading up to his father's disappearance, the slain man had told him of a drug stash site on his Lake Leake property.

``He said, `if anything ever happens to me, you have to go find it','' Mr Thorn told the court.

The witness said he was told Mr Standage was the only other person to know of the stash, and would be able to sell the drugs if something happened to his father.

The court heard he disregarded what his father had said, screwing up a stash site map he had drawn and throwing it in the bin.

Mr Thorn said his father seemed fine the last time they spoke.

He will continue giving evidence when the trial continues today.

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