In 2013, police found a bag of bones in a fireplace at a rural home. And now, 15 years after the victim was murdered, his family finally knows why.
In 2013, police found a bag of bones in a fireplace at a rural home. And now, 15 years after the victim was murdered, his family finally knows why.

Murder victim's remains found in fireplace

For 15 years, the family of cold case murder victim Martin Meffert have wondered how and why their beloved son and brother was killed.

In the Supreme Court on Friday, they got answers at last - discovering it all started with a bank card, a PIN and a request for an iced coffee.

The court heard that, upon his release from hospital in February 2005, Mr Meffert asked a teenager to make a purchase from the Terowie deli on his behalf.

Realising he now had a way of funding his methylamphetamine and cannabis habit, the teen murdered Mr Meffert - then siphoned his account for the next decade.

He not only hid his crime but also Mr Meffert's remains, shifting them from property to property, even playing "show and tell" with his victim's skull to brag to friends.

Martin Meffert. Picture: Supplied by SA Police.
Martin Meffert. Picture: Supplied by SA Police.

On Friday, Mr Meffert's sister, Natasha, told the murderer - now a grown man - there could be no forgiveness for his crime.

"It took 15 years for you to plead guilty … what took you so long?" she asked in her victim impact statement.

"Nothing will change the fact you took Martin away from us and tried to hide what you did for over a decade.

"My hatred for you is such a horrible way to feel, and I despise you for making me feel that way … I will never forgive you."

The man, now 32, pleaded guilty to murdering Mr Meffert, 23, and has already been sentenced to life in prison - the court has yet to determine his non-parole period.

On Friday, Scott Henchliffe SC, for the man, said his client was suffering from both autism spectrum disorder and an "amphetamine-induced hypomanic state" at the time.

He said his client "cried for Mr Meffert because he knew he was going to die", stood 8.9m outside his house and shot him through the wall.

Police located 40 per cent of Mr Meffert’s remains in this Terowie house. Picture: Mark Brake.
Police located 40 per cent of Mr Meffert’s remains in this Terowie house. Picture: Mark Brake.

Mr Hencliffe said police found 40 per cent of Mr Meffert's remains in a bag in a fireplace in 2013 and the rest in 2018, with his client's assistance following his arrest.

"His remorse was a long time coming," he said.

He conceded his client had to serve the mandatory 20-year minimum non-parole period, despite being a youth at the time of the murder.

However, he said his client's plea entitled him to a 30 per cent sentencing discount.

Kos Lesses, prosecuting, urged the court not to grant the full discount.

"Sitting on a crime for 10 years, then coming out and co-operating when a case is strong against you, doesn't amount to (reasons for a discount)," he said.

Justice David Peek will sentence the man on a date to be set.

Originally published as How an iced coffee led to a murder

Natasha Meffert outside the Supreme Court following the sentencing hearing for the murderer of her brother, Martin. Picture: Sean Fewster
Natasha Meffert outside the Supreme Court following the sentencing hearing for the murderer of her brother, Martin. Picture: Sean Fewster
Police search for the remains of murder victim Martin Meffert in Terowie. Picture: SA Police
Police search for the remains of murder victim Martin Meffert in Terowie. Picture: SA Police


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