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For six years, the parents of slain Pickering teenager Julie Anne Stanton begged the man accused, then convicted, of killing her to reveal where her body lay, to no avail.

When the 14-year-old's bones were finally found, in a field north of Bowmanville in 1996, they had been scattered and chewed up by animals.

Now Peter Stark, convicted of first-degree murder in 1994, is asking the Ontario Court of Appeal to grant him a new trial, in part because Julie's badly damaged remains bear no signs the girl was chopped to death with an axe, as the Crown theorized at Mr. Stark's trial.

Mr. Stark's lawyer, Anil Kapoor, also told a three-judge panel that the testimony of a jailhouse informant to whom Mr. Stark confessed in 1992 should not have been admissible at the trial.

The informant, Gerald Udall, a career criminal with 39 convictions and a history of offering police tips on his cellmates, was acting as an agent for police at the time Mr. Stark told him he chopped the girl up because she refused his sexual advances and he was afraid she would tell her parents, Mr. Kapoor said.

Confessions elicited by police agents when an accused person has exercised the right to silence violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Mr. Kapoor said.

The trial judge, Mr. Justice Stephen Glithero, ruled that Mr. Udall's evidence was admissible because he did not become an agent for the police until later, when he questioned Mr. Stark wearing a hidden microphone.

Julie's disappearance on April 16, 1990, sparked a massive hunt for her body, the only physical evidence that she had been murdered and not simply run away from home. Mr. Stark, the father of one of Julie's friends, became a suspect almost immediately when neighbours on Julie's street reported they saw her getting into his car at around 2 p.m. that day.