Exchanges `haunt' girlfriend

Debbie Marshall leaving court on Thursday.
Debbie Marshall leaving court on Thursday.

THE girlfriend of a slain fisherman has told the court she is "haunted to this day" by exchanges with his accused murderer.

Debbie Marshall took the stand at the Hobart Supreme Court again 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 dating Mr Jarvis for about two years at the time of his disappearance.

Mr Standage's lawyers questioned Ms Marshall over her recollection of conversations with the accused.

On Thursday, Ms Marshall said when she tracked down Mr Standage at a Hobart pub three weeks after her boyfriend's disappearance, he was "extremely aggressive and agitated".

The court heard the accused told Ms Marshall her boyfriend had been "knocked off" by a very close friend.

Ms Marshall said Mr Standage had passed on a message that she should shut her mouth or "they" would shut it for her, and she would end up wearing cement boots.

Defence lawyer Tamara Jago, SC, said when her client met with Ms Marshall, he did not threaten the woman or tell her that her boyfriend was dead.

However, Ms Marshall denied the claims.

"It haunts me to this day that I was threatened with my life when all I was doing was trying to find my boyfriend," Ms Marshall said.

Ms Jago also cross-examined the witness over whether the accused had said "he didn't want the heat brought in on him".

The court heard that instead, Mr Standage had told Ms Marshall he didn't want the police to hassle him.

The defence also questioned Ms Marshall of her recollection of an initial meeting with Mr Standage the week after her boyfriend went missing.

Ms Marshall earlier said when she met with Mr Standage on that occasion, his demeanour was "paranoid" and "bordering on aggressive".

Ms Jago produced evidence given by Ms Marshall in 1994, when she had said the two "made pleasant small talk" and "left on good terms, shook hands and he wished me luck".

But Ms Marshall said the content of their conversation spoke for itself, and it was not an amicable meeting.

The trial continues next week.