A former nightclub bouncer accused of murdering a Sydney schoolgirl in 1998 has told a jury he made a false confession to police so he could get to a safe place after years of death threats.
"I was in total physical and mental anguish," Vincent Tarantino testified in the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday.
He said he previously availed himself of "safe houses" by getting admitted to psychiatric hospitals but the prescribed medication put him into a stupor making it harder to ward off threats.
The 52-year-old has pleaded not guilty to murdering 12-year-old Quanne Diec, who vanished on July 27, 1998, after leaving her Granville home to walk to the train station on her way to school.
Her body has never been found.
Tarantino was working at Sydney's Blackmarket Cafe in late 1997 and saw the aftermath of the fatal shootings of three senior Bandidos bikies in the basement.
On Thursday, he detailed to the jury many incidents over the years when he heard "heinous" bikie threats about killing him and relatives, and raping and killing his partner.
He moved addresses, set up surveillance equipment and contacted police.
Once when waiting at a bus stop, a car drove past and a firearm "was thrown in front of him in the gutter".
"I thought I was being set up," he said.
He said that by November 2016, he was in so much anguish and so exhausted that he went to police and made a false confession about Quanne "to address the threats".
"Some threats (then) took place from the cell area outside both cells," he said.
"I thought harm would come to my family."
A police officer later asked him if he would assist in locating Quanne's body.
"I had no idea where the location of the body was," Tarantino said.
"I had no option ... but to co-operate at that stage."
While being taken in a police van to a jail, he said he looked up and saw what looked like the barrel of a firearm pointing at him.
Although he was handcuffed, Tarantino said he had to raise his arms for the trip.
He recognised the person pointing the gun.
"It was the same police officer I found in bed with my partner in 1992," he said.
He said after a laptop was pushed through the jail bars he came to believe his partner and family "were all dead".
Under cross-examination, he agreed he drove and stopped a white van in the Granville street from where Quanne disappeared on the day she vanished.
Earlier during his evidence, the judge ordered Tarantino to temporarily stand down from the witness box when he raised his voice and spoke of detectives "perverting the course of justice".
The trial continues before Justice Robert Beech-Jones.
Australian Associated Press