Robert Joe Wagner has been denied a non-parole period. Picture: Milnes Michael
Robert Joe Wagner has been denied a non-parole period. Picture: Milnes Michael

Snowtown ‘hardened killer’ denied parole

Snowtown serial killer Robert Joe Wagner has been denied a non-parole period, after a judge ruled he is a "hardened killer" who has shown no remorse for his crimes.

Wagner, 47, represented himself before the South Australian Supreme Court in March as he argued that having a possible release date would assist with his mental wellbeing.

Justice Greg Parker on Thursday dismissed the application in a hearing lasting about 10 seconds.

 

Robert Joe Wagner in Snowtown as the jury tour the town in October 2002. Picture: Milnes Michael
Robert Joe Wagner in Snowtown as the jury tour the town in October 2002. Picture: Milnes Michael

 

In his ruling, Justice Parker said the bodies-in-the-barrels murders were "the worst crimes ever to be detected in South Australia".

"The 10 murders, when considered in combination, amount to the worst possible type of offending," he said.

Wagner's application had previously been opposed by prosecutors and the relatives of his victims.

Prosecutor Carmen Matteo said Wagner's crimes were "of unparalleled seriousness" and yesterday urged the court to dismiss his application.

While South Australian victims' rights commissioner Bronwyn Killmier told the court Wagner's request was "a slap in the face" for families affected.

Since 1999, the 47-year-old, who was born in Parramatta, NSW, has been serving 10 life sentences over the infamous "bodies-in-the-barrels" killing spree.

The ringleader in the murders, John Justin Bunting, is similarly serving life without parole.

The serial killings were exposed in 1999 when police found eight dismembered bodies in acid-filled barrels in the vault of a disused bank at Snowtown, north of Adelaide.

Two more bodies were found buried in a backyard at suburban Salisbury North while detectives later linked two further deaths to Bunting and Wagner.

After a trial lasting 170 days, Bunting was found guilty of 11 murders with Wagner jailed over 10 of the deaths.

Two other men, Mark Ray Haydon and James Spyridon Vlassakis, are also behind bars over the killings; Vlassakis after pleading guilty to four murders and Haydon for helping Wagner and Bunting dispose of the bodies.

 

John Justin Bunting (left) and Robert Joe Wagner outside an Adelaide courthouse in 2001.
John Justin Bunting (left) and Robert Joe Wagner outside an Adelaide courthouse in 2001.

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