Harry Potter collector kills pal and hides body among memorabilia for 17 years
A dead body discovered in a storage unit full of Harry Potter memorabilia 17 years after he went missing.
The remains were only found when the unit's owner stopped paying the bills.
John Spencer White has admitted killing his flatmate John Christianos, whose remains were found in a wheelie bin in the Melbourne storage locker.
A court heard how White had managed to cover up his flatmate's disappearance for years by convincing everyone he had vanished somewhere remote and committed suicide.
But in reality, Christianos' body had been hudden away undisturbed for nearly two decades in the storage locker where White kept Harry Potter memorabilia and sporting mementos, reports The Age .
White admitted manslaughter at Australia's Supreme Court, which heard his "bizarre decision" to stop paying the unit's bills inevitably revealed his crime.
The court heard how White never entered the unit where he kept odds and ends – and Christianos' body in a bin underneath a layer of soil.
Even when the unit was sold in July 2018, White was offered to clean out his own storage locker to make way for the new owner – but did not take the opportunity.
That task fell to workers, who tipped over the wheelie bin while they were emptying his unit only to see what appeared to be a human leg and a boot.
A phone call was made to the unit's former tenant, by then living in Queensland, to inform him of the grisly find in his locker.
The phone-tapped call recorded White saying he would "tell the truth when police came."
White's lawyer painted a portrait of a man who was finally ready to reveal his dark secret.
Phillip Dunn QC told the court how rather than attempt to flee, the memorabilia dealer waited patiently for police homicide squads to show up at his front door.
Nearly 20 years after Christianos' disappearance, the story emerged.
White said he had shot the artists in self-defence a booze-fuelled row over money after his former lodger pulled a knife on him.
He told police how Christianos, who was an artist, had carried some portrait work for White's memorabilia business but the relationship soured.
Christianos had been living at the premises of White's Memorabilia Headquarters business, but shifted a boarding house after his drinking and drug-taking behaviour caused issues for White.
A former antiques dealer testified in court that White was afraid of Christianos, who had killed kittens and made violent threats.
Maxwell Engellenner reportedly told the court that Christianos had once choked White.
"He was Jekyll and Hyde, as soon as the devil drink got him. Towards the end… he was out of control."
On June 11, 2001 the pair had been drinking at the same hotel when they retrned to Memorabilia Headquarters then got into a scuffle.
White claims he shot an "erratic" Christianos twice with a small World War II-era handgun in his own defence after the artist pulled a knife on him.
The victim's sister told the court not knowing where he had gone for all those years had broken her heart.
White will be sentenced at a later date.
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