We have a rather unusual story to pass along from the world of movie memorabilia collectors, as a Harry Potter collector in Australia has confessed to killing his friend nearly 18 years ago. Facing the Supreme Court on Thursday, 63-year-old John Spencer White pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of friend John Christianos on June 11, 2001.
After the killing, the body was placed in a barrel and stored in a storage unit along with his Harry Potter posters and other memorabilia until it was discovered last year. Apparently, White stopped paying the bills for the unit, and was even offered the chance to clear it out. White neglected to do this, and when workers were clearing out the unit, they found the decomposed corpse in the barrel and immediately called the police.
The killer and victim both had a storied history together leading up to the incident. Their relationship began when White hired Christianos to paint portraits of Sir Donald Bradman and Gary Ablett Senior to to be sold at his Melbourne store, Memorabilia Headquarters. Although Christianos struggled with alcoholism and mental health problems, White also offered him a place to live, thinking of when his own mother dealt with the same issues. Reportedly, trouble began to arise as the months went on as a result of Christianos’ drinking. Fearing for his safety, White purchased a WWII handgun in the event tensions came to a boil.
That fateful day would arrive in the summer of 2001. Christianos went to visit White to receive his weekly pay for his portraits, but reportedly grew belligerent after having a few drinks. According to White’s confession, Christianos then threatened him with a knife, coming at him with the bladed weapon. That was when White drew his own weapon of choice, firing at Christianos with his handgun “In self-defense I protected myself. In self-defense I shot him,” White was quoted as saying. Fearing the legal repercussions of the killing, White says he then panicked and hid the body instead of confessing, telling investigators he had nothing to do with his friend’s disappearance.
Concerning the Harry Potter memorabilia, it’s not clear what all exactly White had in his collection in the storage unit. It’s also unclear if being stored next to a dead body for so many years will devalue some of the items, or what will become of them now that White has been arrested. However long White may end up sitting in prison for the killing, chances are his days of working as a memorabilia merchant are over. At the very least, customers might be wondering how some of the items were stored prior to being purchased, if they aren’t already worrying about their own safety.
It will next be up to the Australian judicial system to decide what ultimately happens with White. This is clearly a deep case with two sides to the story, and it’s hard to say at this point how exactly the sentencing will turn out. While the news of the body’s discovery might be difficult for the Christianos family, hopefully they will be able to find some solace in knowing what happened to John. This information comes to us from Daily Mail.