THE Portland man accused of a cold-case double-murder had asked at a shop about how best to clean up blood but police overlooked this, his committal hearing has been told.
Robert Penny, 83, is charged with murdering his wife Margaret and another woman, Claire Acocks, in a hair salon in the town almost 25 years ago.
Portland store owner Shaun Smith told a Melbourne court Penny came into his shop within days of the May 3, 1991 killing acting strangely.
Mr Smith said Penny had been looking for a product that would remove blood.
"He may have said, ‘Can you recommend anything to get blood out of something?'" Mr Smith said in his statement.
"He was acting very unusual ... very jovial and very forward."
When the customer went to get the product Mr Smith's wife said it was Margaret Penny's husband.
"I couldn't believe that someone would come into the shop being so jovial and strange after their wife's just been murdered," Mr Smith told the Melbourne Magistrates Court hearing on Monday.
Smith said Penny had seemed "cocksure".
He said the encounter was reported to police but nothing came of it.
"I reported what had happened at my business and it was never followed up," Mr Smith said.
Defence barrister Julian McMahon asked why he didn't contact police again.
He was acting very unusual ... very jovial and very forward ... I couldn't believe that someone would come into the shop being so jovial and strange after their wife's just been murdered.- Shaun Smith
Mr Smith said he didn't think there was anything more he could do.
A frail Penny was in court supported by his second wife.
The court was told Penny underwent quadruple by-pass surgery in June.
The hearing continues before Magistrate Carolene Gwynn.
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