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A former Melbourne memorabilia dealer has admitted killing a graphic artist in 2001 before stashing his body headfirst in a wheelie bin.
The decomposed remains of John Christianos (39) were found at a storage facility on July 13 last year, some 17 years after John Spencer White fatally shot him in the chest during a scuffle.
According to court documents, Mr Christianos was found lying headfirst in the bin, covered in tanbark and soil, and locked away in a unit filled with Harry Potter merchandise and sporting memorabilia.
The victim's remains were only located in 2018 when the Oakleigh South facility was sold and the owner was clearing the premises.
The bin had remained on site even though the killer stopped paying rent shortly after he stashed the body.
On Tuesday, White - now 62 - pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Melbourne Magistrates Court. His admission came after prosecutors this week downgraded the charge from murder.
The court was told Mr Christianos had worked for White, painting images of well-known sports stars including Donald Bradman and Gary Ablett, which the killer then got autographed and sold at his store, Memorabilia Headquarters.
At one stage, both men lived on site at the shop, but their relationship began deteriorating, documents claim.
On June 11, 2001, after the pair had been drinking at nearby hotel Zagame's, they returned to White's shop and got into a scuffle when Mr Christianos became "erratic".
Mr Christianos was armed with a knife, and White got hold of a gun, firing it twice, in an "unlawful and dangerous act" that ended the artist's life.
When the storage facility owner discovered the body last year, he called White, who still had the same phone number.
Police then arranged an intercept on White's phone before visiting his Sunshine Coast home - which was filled with memorabilia including Gary Ablett photos and models of the Titanic - and extraditing the killer to Victoria.
Immediately after pleading guilty, White applied for bail, arguing he wouldn't "do a runner" and was frightened as an older man in the prison environment due to violence.
During the application, barrister Philip Dunn QC described White's "extraordinary" history, including that he was one of about 10 children to a St Kilda street sex worker.
The lawyer said from age 14, White had looked after his mother and his baby sister by working on the Scenic Railway at Luna Park before dealing in displays and memorabilia to buy a home for his loved ones.
But magistrate Suzanne Cameron refused bail, stating there was no compelling reason.
She added that since his murder charge had been dropped to manslaughter, it was likely that he would be moved from maximum security.
White is due to appear in the Supreme Court of Victoria on Thursday for a directions hearing.