Wife says she knew nothing about cash, diamonds, guns or hidden rooms

Delia Stuart leaving court.
Delia Stuart leaving court.

The wife of a wanted Romanian man has denied any knowledge of her husband's business dealings, guns or secret rooms beneath their home.

Romanian born Delia Stuart struggled to give evidence at a coronial inquest exploring what happened nearly 10 years ago when Perth businessman Wayne Drewett mysteriously disappeared and her husband, Nick Stuart, left Australia.

She blamed poor memory and bad english for being unable to answer many questions about the extent of her knowledge of her husband's dealings with Mr Drewett or the suspicious items found around the home they shared.

Mr Drewett was last seen by his wife, Joyce, leaving her room at the Observation City Hotel to make arrangements for a diamond deal linked to Nick Stuart on April 14, 2003.

Mr Stuart was also known as Niculae Stoian and was wanted by Romanian Police in connection with a diamond deal in 1996 and the disappearance of a man in possession of $300,000, the court heard this week.

A group of Mr Drewett's investors convinced his wife not to report him missing for almost three weeks after he vanished.

Mr Drewett's car was later found parked outside of the CCTV camera area at the Perth Domestic terminal.

Police also discovered his computer hard drive was missing, as was a pair of Mr Drewett's pyjamas.

He has never been seen again.

On the day of Mr Drewett's disappearance Mr Stuart had withdrawn $10,000 in cash from a safety deposit box at Bankwest. He also accessed a second box rented under his name.

Mr Drewett had a safety deposit box next to Mr Stuart's at Bankwest.

Around the time he met Mr Drewett, Mr Stuart had been looking for somebody to secure investors for an Eastern European diamond deal, the court heard.

The pair were friends who had on at least one occasion discussed investment opportunities, Mrs Stuart told the court.

Mr Drewett appeared to have found investors for a diamond deal in February 2003, the court heard.

At the same time Terrance Gardiner who worked as a book keeper for Mr Stuart - the pair met in prison - told the inquest he was terrified of Mr Stuart and had handled large sums of money for the Stuarts after Mr Stuart left the country.

Mr Gardiner told the court Mrs Stuart gave him an envelope containing $30,000 which he posted in parcels to Romania, shortly after Mr Stuart had left the country.

He said Mrs Stuart then asked him to pick up a parcel from a friend's house and hold on to it.

After opening the parcel he said he was "scared" to discover as much as $300,000 in Australian dollars, which he then kept in a plastic bag in his garage, nestled behind some golf clubs.

"It scared the living hell out of me," he said, denying any knowledge of where it had come from.

He claimed he dropped $100,000 off at a house owned by a friend of Mrs Stuart's at her request, before eventually handing at least $100,000 in to police.

Mrs Stuart denied receiving cash from Mr Gardiner.  She said although she did give him an envelope her husband had told her to pass on she never opened it and did not know what was inside.  She also denies asking Mr Gardiner for any money.

Police searched Mr Stuart's home about two months after Mr Drewett vanished, discovering an arsenal of guns, items used to test diamonds and a book titled 'Be Your Own Undertaken: How to Dispose of a Dead Body.'

Mr Gardiner yesterday told the court Mr Stuart had also shown him a hole underneath his tool shed floor, which lead to two hidden rooms - one containing a single bed.

Mr Stuart said her husband had never spoken to her about diamonds or his other business dealings and claimed she did not know why he had a diamond checking tool at their home.

"He speak with me, but not financial," she said.

"He never talk to me in what business he was involved."

She also denied any knowledge of the rooms underneath the shed but said her husband would get angry if she went near his office or the tool shed.

"He doesn’t like me to go in there - he was upset even when I try to do some dusting," she said.

Mr Stuart left Australia for Romania on April 23, 2003 and is still wanted for questioning by the Romanian authorities.

He had tried unsuccessfully to have two large boxes filled with cash shipped to Romania prior to his departure, the court heard.

The freight companies had returned the boxes to Mr Stuart after discovering the cash and it is not known what happened to it next.

Mrs Stuart, who met her husband in Bucharest in the late 80s, said she could not remember much of what happened around his departure.

She said she had spent three months in a "mental hospital" after he left and her memory had been affected by antidepressants.

Although bank slips show she accessed the safety deposit box she shared with her husband on several occasion - once with him - she claims she only used it to store jewellery.

She denied having any contact with him aside from one phone call in the years since he left.

But she never reported him missing when he failed to return after six months, which he intended to spend caring for this sick mother, she told the court.

The inquest is expected to finish today.

This story Wife says she knew nothing about cash, diamonds, guns or hidden rooms first appeared on WA Today.