A man accused of a triple murder some 40 years ago has been denied bail after saying he would rather blow his head off than go to jail.
Bruce John Preston, 63, was charged earlier this year with the 1978 murders of three friends who set out on an outback motorcycle adventure and never came home.
Less than a month after they started, their bodies were found in Queensland scrub.
Preston, who maintains he is innocent, unsuccessfully sought bail in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Monday.
He will remain in custody until he fights allegations he murdered Karen Edwards, 23, Timothy Thomson, 31, and Gordon Twaddle, 21, near Mt Isa three days after they rode out of Alice Springs.
Preston, a retired senior prison officer at NSW's Goulburn Supermax jail, argued he should be bailed because he was of good character.
He had always co-operated with investigators, and it was a historical case reliant on circumstantial evidence.
However, crown prosecutor Danny Boyle said Preston was not only a flight risk but could potentially take his own life to avoid a prison sentence.
Mr Boyle said a covert 2019 recording of Preston on the phone to his wife after the police investigation had recommenced had raised concerns about what he might do if released.
"I've never been this scared," Preston said on the recording, Mr Boyle told the court.
"I am not going to prison. I'd rather walk out into the street and blow my head off before I go to jail."
But Preston's lawyer Russell Pearce said the Crown was "nitpicking' from the recordings and would also have heard Preston declare his innocence many times.
Ms Edwards, Mr Thomson and Mr Twaddle planned to ride from the Northern Territory to Cairns and then Melbourne, to spend Christmas with family members.
They were last seen on October 5 at the Moondarra Caravan Park jumping into a two-tone Toyota Landcruiser, similar to the one Preston's father owned at the time.
Their bodies were found 19 days later in bushland near Spear Creek, 12 km north of the outback mining town.
All three died from gunshot wounds.
The court heard Preston, a former corporal in the Australian Army, was also on a motorcycle trip across Australia at the time.
A man matching his description was allegedly seen with the victims the night before they disappeared.
Preston was later found in possession of Mr Edwards near-new red and gold BMW motorcycle, which had a sidecar with a map of Australia painted on it.
He told investigators he had found the bike and was charged with theft.
The court heard Preston told detectives in 1978 he was not in Mt Isa the day the trio were murdered.
But in an interview prior to his arrest in April, he contradicted this and said he was in Mt Isa when the trio disappeared.
Judge Elizabeth Wilson refused Preston's bail application.
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Australian Associated Press