Risdon Vale tattooist Dwayne Robert Davies tried to procure firearms for a friend in the weeks before his alleged murder, a court has heard.
Mr Davies' body was found just over a week after he disappeared on May 26, 2017.
Mr Davies' wife Margaret Anne Otto, of Risdon Vale, and his best friend Bradley Scott Purkiss, of Elderslie, are jointly charged with his murder.
Both have pleaded not guilty.
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A friend of the victim Emma Jackson said two or three weeks before the alleged murder Mr Davies gave her a note listing a number of firearms wanted for "sell or swap".
"[He said] a friend was asking if I could get anything on the list because [my partner] had a gun license," Ms Jackson said.
Ms Jackson said the note was not in Mr Davies' handwriting, which she was familiar with.
"I've got it tattooed on my leg," she said.
Ms Jackson said she did not know which friend Mr Davies was seeking the firearms for.
Mr Davies visited Ms Jackson at Brighton on the day he disappeared at 6.30pm.
Ms Jackson said she gave him three bags of cannabis, with a street value of $900, for Mr Davies to sell in order to pay a bill.
"He said he was going to his mate's [house] at Elderslie to look at some motorcycles," she said.
"His mate was adamant he wanted to buy a bike that day.
"[I said to Mr Davies] I know dodgy when it sounds dodgy.
"Why would two guys from Campbell Town come down at this time of night? You'd at least want to take it for a ride."
The Crown alleged Mr Purkiss "lured" Mr Davies to his property with the promise of viewing two motorcycles.
The court was read a text message exchange between Mr Davies and Mr Purkiss.
In the text messages, Mr Purkiss and Mr Davies discuss the models and potential prices for two bikes.
The next day Ms Jackson had plans to meet Mr Davies at his tattoo shop at 1pm.
When Mr Davies did not show up, Ms Jackson later spoke to Ms Otto about his visit to her partner's business the night before.
"The first thing [she asked] which I thought was a bit odd was did I think Dwayne was on drugs," Ms Jackson said.
Ms Jackson said Ms Otto told her Mr Purkiss purchasing the bikes from Campbell Town was "off".
Victim a 'needy' friend
Ms Jackson said she had known Mr Davies for 10 years before he disappeared and the two were particularly close in the last 12 to 18 months.
They first met when she had a tattoo done by him at his Bridgewater business, Ink Addiction, and over the course of their friendship she had 12 tattoos done.
"I classified him as my needy friend. Very demanding of your attention and your time," Ms Jackson said.
The court heard at the time Mr Davies disappeared he suffered from both mental health issues and physical complaints.
Ms Jackson said Mr Davies complained of pain in his shoulder and back which meant he was unable to continue working at his tattoo business.
"He was having issues with his belly. He was trying different diets," she said.
"He would have good days and bad days but [the pain] was lingering."
The court heard as Mr Davies' physical health deteriorated, his mental state was negatively impacted.
"Of course if you are in physical pain it's going to play on you mentally," Ms Jackson said.
"He was up and down and he thought he had bipolar, because I have it, and he had a lot of the same symptoms.
Ms Jackson said she was aware Mr Davies was facing financial difficulties, owing a $40,000 tax debt.
She said the victim had previously asked her if she wanted to buy half of the tattoo business.
"It was a previously profitable business ... which is why I didn't get why he wanted to sell it," Ms Jackson said.
The court heard when Mr Davies first opened his tattoo parlour he paid money to a motorcycle gang in order to operate the business.
Ms Jackson said Mr Davies said he had stopped paying this debt some time ago and there had not been any issues as a result.
Dwayne Davies a 'drug dealing dog'
The court heard Mr Davies' tattoo parlour was graffitied with the words "Dwayne Davies drug dealing dog".
Ms Jackson said her friend had been confused by this as not many people knew Mr Davies had been attempting to grow cannabis in a shed at his home.
"He had no knowledge at all what to do. He thought he'd have a crack," she said.
Ms Jackson said Mr Davies was growing the cannabis to sell in order to make some money.
The trial before Chief Justice Alan Blow continues.