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Killer says mate not part of murder plot

AAP logoAAP 10/11/2016 Andi Yu

A man who has pleaded guilty to murdering cannabis plantation labourer Jacob Munro has told a court his colleague, Shaun Zanker, was not part of the murder plot.

Shaun Steven "Shorty" Zanker, 27, has pleaded not guilty to the July 2014 murder of Mr Munro, whose body was found months later in a grave at Bulahdelah State Forest, north of Newcastle.

Stanley Forward, who was one of two men to plead guilty to Mr Munro's murder, gave evidence in the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday that he did not speak to Zanker about killing Mr Munro, nor did Zanker make any suggestion to kill him.

"There's no evidence that Mr Zanker came to you and said, let's go and kill him, because that did not happen, did it?" defence lawyer Iain Todd asked Forward.

"Not that I know of, no," the 23-year-old replied.

Mr Munro was killed in a two-storey shed which housed a large hydroponic cannabis operation in Schofields in Sydney's west.

Crown prosecutor Lou Lungo alleges that even though Zanker was not present when Mr Munro was stabbed and tasered to death, he was nearby ready to assist if need be.

Zanker's "significant" role involved the "planning and motivation" for the murder, helping dig the grave nine days before the killing and helping to dispose of the body, he said.

But Mr Lungo also put forward an alternative that if the jury was not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt as to the Zanker's culpability in relation to murder, there was evidence where he could be found guilty of being an accessory before the fact.

Zanker's defence says people talked about killing Mr Munro in a "flippant or black humour-type way" and that Zanker never intended or believed the murder would take place.

Forward and Donald Cameron, who also pleaded guilty to Mr Munro's murder, have received discounts on their jail sentences for agreeing to give evidence against Zanker.

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