Ryan Lane's body burned by Wilhelm Rempel, says brother before jury told to ignore

Accused murderer Tim Rempel told a Calgary jury that his brother confessed he burned Ryan Lane's body, but the startling testimony was ruled hearsay evidence and jurors were told to ignore it.

Tim Rempel says his brother confessed to burning victim's body but jury told to ignore the evidence

Wilhelm Rempel, Sheena Cuthill and Tim Rempel are all accused of murdering Ryan Lane because he wanted visitation rights with the daughter he and Cuthill shared. (CBC/Global)

Accused murderer Tim Rempel told a Calgary jury Tuesday that his brother confessed he burned Ryan Lane's body, but the startling testimony was ruled hearsay evidence and Justice Alan Macleod instructed jurors to ignore it.

Tim Rempel, 30, his brother Wilhelm and Tim's wife, Sheena Cuthill, are all charged with first-degree murder in Lane's death.

Except for a bloody nose, Ryan Lane was alive and well, according to Tim Rempel, who said he left Lane on the side of a rural road in the early morning hours of Feb. 7, 2012.

Tim Rempel testified in his own defence on Tuesday, telling the jury that he and Wilhelm arranged a meeting with Lane on the night of Feb. 6, 2012.

The idea, said Rempel, was to convince Lane to give up his efforts to visit the daughter he shared with Cuthill.

After recruiting his brother for help, Rempel testified he called Lane from a payphone and lured him to a parking lot where Lane got in Wilhelm Rempel's truck.

As instructed by his brother, Wilhelm drove Lane to a remote location outside the city.

At that location, Rempel said he confronted Lane and showed him Facebook photos of himself, Cuthill and Lane's daughter.

Lane got emotional, according to Rempel, and shoved him. Rempel said he then hit Lane in the face, giving him a bloody nose.

But then Rempel says he got in his Jeep and drove away, leaving Lane on the side of the gravel road. He said he could see Wilhelm in his rearview mirror pulling away as well. 

"When you left that location was Ryan Lane alive?" Rempel's lawyer, Allan Fay, asked.

"Yes," said Rempel who then told the jury that he sped home, driving 130 to 140 km/h.

'They found the kitchen'

In the days after Lane's disappearance Rempel says he lied to police, telling them he'd never met Lane.

"The hour I met him and the way, I could instantly appreciate the optics of the situation," said Rempel. 

When it became clear the trio was under investigation, Tim says he asked his brother what happened to Lane but was told, "I shouldn't ask questions I don't want answers to."

"Whatever happened, it was after I left and a part of me didn't want to know," said Rempel.

Fay questioned his client about a conversation recorded by police between the brothers four months after Lane disappeared during which Wilhelm tells Tim "they found the kitchen." 

"He told me he had burned Ryan's body so I assumed that's what he was referring to," said Rempel.

Sheena Cuthill testified on Friday and again on Monday. She admitted under cross-examination that she believed her husband may become violent when he and Lane met.

Cuthill is accused of orchestrating a plan to have her husband and his brother kill Lane.

When police questioned Cuthill three days after Lane disappeared, she told the jury she believed Tim Rempel might know what happened to him, though she said she lied to protect them both.

Earlier in his testimony, Tim Rempel told jurors that both he and his brother worked in the same gravel pit where human remains were found in a burn barrel along with Lane's class ring and pieces of his cellphone.

Tim Rempel's testimony continues on Wednesday.