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Australia: Witness in murder appeal told the court of 'surprising' kill plot and bricks of stolen meth

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A witness has told the Court of Appeal that two men plotted to kill Allan Ames and bricks of his stolen meth were found in the house of a man who made an alleged deathbed confession to the murder.

Daniel Troy Ames, 49, is serving a 24-year minimum sentence for the murder of his 68-year-old uncle at his Cavan workshop in 2009.

He was convicted by a judge in 2011.

The sentencing judge found Ames had no motive to kill his uncle and the murder weapon had never been found.

Ames has launched his last avenue of appeal on the grounds of "fresh and compelling new evidence" – the confession to the crime by Peter Lagerwey before he died in 2016, and the failure of police to disclose information ahead of his trial.

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The court has previously heard that Lagerwey — also a drug trafficker — told a friend in the days before he died of cancer that he had killed Mr Ames.

Justices Mark Livesey, Sophie David and Chris Bleby last month reserved their decision on the appeal, but lawyers for Ames and the prosecution asked for it to be reopened after more information came to light.

A witness, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was called to give evidence, telling the court of a conversation they had with Lagerwey —  who was "violent on and off meth" — ahead of the 2009 murder.

"[Lagerwey] said he and Danny were going to do the murder for drugs," the witness told the court today.

But they said Lagerwey "changed his mind" about the plan.

Witness saw 'a lot of meth'

Tom Cox KC, for Ames, asked the witness if the conversation about murdering Mr Ames came as a surprise.

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The witness responded: "That was surprising – there's no part of me that thought that was OK".

The witness gave evidence about seeing "a lot" of meth in sealed bricks the size of a standard tissue box on Lagerwey's kitchen bench, along with a silver gun, after the murder.

"Peter mentioned Danny was now a millionaire," the witness told the court.

Mr Cox questioned the witness about trying to "shield" Lagerwey from "the responsibility" of the murder.

The witness responded: "I'm not here to protect anyone but tell the truth".

The court heard the witness told a relative that Lagerwey had the stolen drugs from the murder scene along with the weapon.

Earlier on Wednesday, the court heard evidence from a former Yatala prisoner who was in jail at the same time as the witness's relative.

The inmate, who also cannot be named for legal reasons, said he started talking to a fellow prisoner, who mentioned his relative had been "involved in a murder".

"He said someone else had already worn it," the former inmate told the appeal court, clarifying he believed that meant someone else had been convicted of the crime.

Prosecutor Jim Pearce KC suggested to the prisoner that he was lying about that conversation he had in jail in 2011.

The prisoner responded: "That's not true, that's definitely not true".

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