- Trial Day 1: Junction Hotel arson trial under way in Bendigo
- Trial Day 2: Junction Hotel suitors claim owners were in financial stress
- Trial Day 3: Investigators outline likely cause of Junction Hotel fire
- Trial Day 4: Facebook photo points detectives to hanging antique clock
- Trial Day 6: ‘Why would I set it on fire?’ Jozef Jansen denies claims
A FATHER and son accused of conspiring to burn down the Junction Hotel at Ravenswood gave conflicting stories to police about a “sentimental” picture that was removed from the building in the lead-up to the fire, a court has heard.
The hotel’s then owner Jozef Jansen, 65, and Remco Jansen, 42, appeared at the fifth day of their arson for gain trial in the Bendigo County Court on Monday.
The Junction Hotel was gutted by fire on June 9, 2014.
Police received approval to re-enter the hotel to look for evidence on the burnt-out walls of a large picture of the Jansen’s deceased son that may have been removed from the wall before the fire, along with an antique clock.
Police retrieved the two items from Jozef Jansen’s new residence in Old Bar, New South Wales, months after the fire.
Detectives also re-entered the hotel to examine the walls where the items were formerly hanging.
Another intercepted phone call – played to the court – had Jozef Jansen instructing Remco Jansen to tell police he had taken the picture from the wall for storage while his parents moved to New South Wales.
Remco Jansen was then supposed to say he gave the picture back to his parents.
But in a police interview, also played in court, Remco Jansen told officers he had only recently had the picture enlarged for his parents at a Bendigo framing store. Police allege he implied the larger version “never existed” before then.
In a later phone call, Jozef Jansen said his lawyers believed police have “got nothing”, except for the discrepancy with the large photograph.
A later police interview with Remco Jansen focused on his movements on the day of the fire.
Remco Jansen repeatedly denied he was in the area, and he did not leave Kangaroo Flat on June 9, 2014, until he was made aware of the fire.
Phone calls he made to his father Jozef Jansen between 8.58pm and 9.02pm – half an hour before the fire was started – allegedly bounced off a phone tower at Big Hill from a southern direction.
The trial continues.