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Tuesday, 15 October, 2002, 09:03 GMT 10:03 UK
Gory evidence halts Australia trial
Garden where two of the bodies were buried
Two of the bodies were found buried in a garden
The trial of two Australian men accused of a series of murders has been halted on its opening day because one of the jurors said she felt unable to cope with the gory details.

Judge Brian Martin formally discharged the rest of the 15-member jury and ordered a new trial to begin on Wednesday.

The bank vault where eight of the bodies were found
Eight bodies were found in vats in the bank vault
The prosecution's opening address included allegations of torture, murder and dismemberment of bodies.

The two men - John Bunting and Robert Wagner - have been accused of belonging to a group which killed 12 people, some of whose remains were discovered in plastic barrels.

Judge Martin appealed to the other jurors, eligible to be recalled when the trial restarts, to advise him if they also felt unable to cope with the details of the case.

Hideous discovery

The so-called "bodies-in-barrels" case is one of Australia's most gruesome mass murders.

Four men were arrested in May 1999 after police opened a disused bank vault in Snowtown, north of Adelaide, and discovered the rotting remains of eight bodies stuffed into plastic barrels.

Map showing Snowtown and Adelaide
Two more bodies were discovered a few days later, buried on top of each other in the backyard of a house in an Adelaide suburb. Another two were found at a later date.

Mr Bunting, 35, is charged with murdering 12 people, and has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Mr Wagner, 30, has admitted to killing three people but faces eight further murder counts.

A third man, Mark Haydon, 43, faces three murder charges but no date has yet been set for his trial.

The fourth, James Vlassakis, 22, was sentenced to life earlier this year after admitting to four murders, including those of his step-brother and half-brother.

See also:

13 Aug 01 | Asia-Pacific
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