Nephew handed life sentence for murdering rich uncle
A QUEENSLAND man who murdered and dismembered his wealthy uncle 20 years ago was motivated by greed.
Robert James Wagner, 57, has been sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty in the Brisbane Supreme Court of murdering Gerhard Wagner on January 7, 1999.
A jury on Monday agreed with the prosecution case that Wagner invited his uncle, 61, to his Ashgrove home, killed him, dismembered his body with an axe and dumped it in the Glass House Mountains.
In sentencing, Justice Peter Applegarth said it was a cold-blooded murder.
"He was generous emotionally and financially to his family, including to you," he told Wagner.
"His reward was to be bludgeoned to death by you with a hammer, his body dismembered and his remains disposed of in rivers and mountains."
Outside court, Gerhard Wagner's family expressed relief at the verdict but sadness that he was taken from them so heartlessly.
"Our hearts are broken for the loss of Gerhard," his younger brother Peter Wagner said.
"He lost his life not because he was a bad man but the opposite: he was a good man who was caring, he was generous, and he was trusting."
The family thanked Acting Detective Senior Sergeant Peter Roddick, whose reinvigoration of the cold-case investigation led to Robert Wagner's arrest in 2014.
Gerhard Wagner was last seen riding his motorbike about 3pm on January 7 after working on his yacht at a Brisbane marina.
He had a dinner date that night and had been planning to sail around the world. But the former merchant seaman did not turnup for the date and his body has never been found.
At the time, Wagner owed him $84,000 and was in a difficult financial situation, the jury was told.
A witness, who cannot be named for legal reasons, came forward with claims Wagner told him he had killed his uncle and got away with it.