Wildlife expert tells of bone and hair finds

A CONSERVATION and wildlife expert has told of finding clumps of hair, chewed human bone and clothing fibres at the murder site of a slain fisherman, believed to be the result of Tasmanian devils interfering with his body.

Mark Holdsworth gave evidence 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, or John Lewis Thorn, 59, at Lake Leake in August 2006.

Mr Holdsworth accompanied police to remote bushland in Nugent soon after Mr Jarvis's skeletal remains were discovered in February 1993.

Police suspected animals had interfered with Mr Jarvis's body in the six months since his disappearance and asked Mr Holdsworth to examine the area.

The man's remains and the bulk of his clothing had earlier been removed from the site.

The court heard Mr Holdsworth found clumps of hair in leaf litter, shreds of clothing and a small piece of leather with teeth marks in it, believed to be from a belt.

Scratch marks were identified in large logs adjacent to where the body was found.

Mr Holdsworth said a long bone was found some distance from the body.

``The ends of the bone had been chewed off,'' Mr Holdsworth said.

``This is quite common with Tasmanian devils.''

Mr Holdsworth gave evidence of finding several Tasmanian devil scats about 30 metres from the body.

The faeces contained fragments of bone and blue-coloured clothing.

Mr Standage's lawyers asked the witness whether devils could have eaten the dead man's wallet, which was not located at the scene.

``They're not primarily after leather, they're after flesh,'' Mr Holdsworth said.

Later, the jury heard from former Tasmania Police ballistics expert Kevin Schramm.

Mr Schramm inspected two projectiles found at the Nugent murder scene.

The court heard he scrutinised the colour, size, shape, weight, rifling and damage of each projectile.

``They were definitely fired from the same barrel,'' he said.

He identified the weapon as a Webley 455 revolver and said the condition of the projectiles were consistent with having struck bone.

The trial continues today.