Girlfriend met with accused

THE girlfriend of a man allegedly murdered has told a Hobart court of several exchanges she had with her boyfriend's accused killer shortly after his disappearance.

Deborah Marshall gave evidence in the Hobart Supreme Court yesterday in the murder trial of 61-year-old Stephen Roy Standage.

Mr Standage has pleaded not guilty to killing Ronald Frederick Jarvis, 37, at Nugent, in July 1992 and John Lewis Thorn, 59, at Lake Leake, in August 2006.

Ms Marshall had been in a relationship with Ronald Jarvis for about two years at the time he went missing.

The court heard of Ms Marshall knew of an outstanding debt Mr Standage owed to her boyfriend, which he was becoming increasingly "troubled, agitated, nervy and upset" about in the months leading up to his disappearance.

Ms Marshall said she called everybody she knew had known Mr Jarvis after he went missing, including the accused.

The court heard Mr Standage insisted on meeting Ms Marshall face-to-face after refusing to talk about the then-missing man on the phone.

Ms Marshall said when they met, Mr Standage's demeanour was "paranoid" and "bordering on aggressive".

Ms Marshall said the accused offered her money and told her to "back off" her inquiries to find her missing boyfriend because she was "treading on dirty toes".

The court heard Mr Standage failed to turn up for the second meeting days later, and when she sought him out at a Hobart hotel three weeks later he was "extremely aggressive and agitated".

Ms Marshall said the accused was concerned police could link him to the missing man through his vehicle and a pair of bolt cutters.

Mr Standage demanded to know whether Ms Marshall had "brought the heat in on him", the court heard.

"He said that if I told him about the four-wheel-drive and the bolt cutters, that he'd tell me what happened to Ron," Ms Marshall told the court, "but that if it ever got back to him, he would know where it came from, so I ought to shut my f---ing mouth."

The court heard Mr Standage told Ms Marshall her boyfriend had been murdered by a very close friend.

"He said he had about five very close friends, and to look at each of them, because one of them, quote, `knocked him off'," Ms Marshall said.

"He said he'd been told to tell that woman to shut her mouth or they'd shut it for me, and I'd be wearing cement boots."

Ms Marshall said she continued searching for her boyfriend despite Mr Standage telling her he was dead.

The trial continues today.