The elderly man who prosecutors allege inadvertently sold the gun used to kill Canberra's police chief told investigators the only time he had seen David Eastman was on the news, a jury heard Wednesday.
A month earlier, when presented with a photoboard of images, Louis Klarenbeek also said he was unable to identify the man who had bought the rifle.
But the court also heard that when police had left his Queanbeyan home on that first occasion, Mr Klarenbeek claimed to his wife that he saw a man who "could be the murderer" among the photographs.
The words of the late Mr Klarenbeek and his wife Johanna were brought back to life in a Canberra court as two prosecutors read out document after document of what the couple had previously said.
Mr Klarenbeek, who was in his late 60s at the time of Colin Winchester's death, was unwell with bowel and lung cancer and he died after giving evidence at an inquest into the death.
After the couple's earlier statements were read, Acting Justice Murray Kellam warned the jury about how they could use the evidence, which were words allegedly spoken outside the court and which could be unreliable.
He said the couple were not able to be cross-examined, nor their evidence tested. It would be up to the jurors to decide how much weight they wanted to give the words of the Klarenbeeks.
Mr Eastman, 72, is on trial accused of the January 10, 1989, murder of Mr Winchester, the Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner, who was shot dead in his car in Deakin.
The former treasury official has pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors allege the murder weapon was a Ruger 10/22 sold to Mr Eastman by Mr Klarenbeek.
The Ruger was a "bad gun”, Mr Klarenbeek had told police.
He had bought it then tested it at a quarry on Captains Flat Road, only to find the sight was out by inches.
He said he sold it one Sunday to a person who bought it for $250 with an accompanying "sound reducer".
Mr Klarenbeek told police the man was about 40 to 50 years old, 165 centimetres tall and with a full head of red hair and flecks of grey. The man had thick eyebrows and ruddy cheeks, he said.
“He was a gentleman, he was nice dressed and well spoken,” Mr Klarenbeek later told the coronial inquest.
Mr Klarenbeek later retrieved five spent cartridges from the quarry, three of which he said were from the Ruger.
Mr Klarenbeek said he did not recognise the buyer on a photoboard, and said when presented with a video of Mr Eastman, he told police that he was not the buyer.
But the court heard that after Mrs Klarenbeek gave her own evidence at the inquest she shared a coffee with her Dutch interpreter, telling him when police had left Mr Klarenbeek said he saw "either that man or his double".
Mrs Klarenbeek said her husband had not wanted to "betray" the buyer by telling police, and that he was scared.
She was shown a photoboard in court, but suggested it was a different one to the one police had shown her husband.
Prosecutors allege that after he bought the Klarenbeek rifle on January 1, 1989, Mr Eastman tried to sell it to a man named Denis Reid a few days before Mr Winchester's death.
Mr Reid picked two men out of a police photoboard, saying of one that he was 80 per cent confident he was the man who came into his Monaro sports store to sell a Ruger rifle.
Later, police investigating the murder set Mr Reid up with a wire and listened in as he spoke to a man in Civic.
"By then I was 100 per cent sure that he was the bloke in the shop," Mr Reid told the court.
He said the man had a soft and distinct voice.
The trial continues.