A stash of diamonds hidden in a luxury car, a secret cache of dynamite bound for the black market, a plot hatched behind bars to kill a police officer and other witnesses and a career criminal turned police agent for pay.

Those are some of the allegations jurors heard as Peter Beckett's trial on one count of first-degree murder resumed this week in British Columbia Supreme Court in Kamloops, Canada, after a week's break.

The 59-year-old former Napier city councillor is accused of killing his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett, who died in 2010.

Letts-Beckett drowned in Upper Arrow Lake near Revelstoke in August 2010. Beckett was charged one year later.


Prosecutor Sarah Firestone has told jurors Beckett stood to gain a significant amount of money in life-insurance and accidental-death benefits, as well as Letts-Beckett's school teacher's pension.

A former cellmate of Beckett's described his version of events shortly after they first met in June 2012.

"He said his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett, fell off the Zodiac they were on in the lake and basically sunk," the informant, whose identity is suppressed, said.

"He said that he didn't notice she had fell off and, by the time he did, he could see her flailing underwater."

"I said, 'If that's your version, you're ******," the informant testified.

Beckett changed his story when questioned, the informant said.

"Then he said that she just kind of slowly lowered herself in, kind of stealth into the water. Basically like a suicide."

The informant told jurors he and Beckett became close yet he felt he was being "groomed".

"There were a lot of conversations around a large amount of money, I think in the $4.5 million range, if things were handled properly on the street."

The informant said Beckett gave him a list of names of people to kill including the police investigator, Letts-Beckett's parents, a cousin and a lawyer.

"It developed to where I was to take out witnesses for him upon my release - and by take out, I mean kill witnesses."

The informant said he eventually decided to contact police. "Once I started finding out more about his case, something happened to me and I started thinking about doing something right for once," he said.

"Even as a hardened, seasoned criminal, something told me that Laura and her family and these potential targets, something told me that I had to do something to prevent this from happening." The informant said he wrote a letter to police. A few days later, he met with detectives.

The investigators told the informant to keep detailed notes of his interactions with Beckett. They also had him sign a contract, court heard, that saw him work as an agent in exchange for C$10,000 ($11,200).

The informant said Beckett's conspiracy continued to unfold in jail. The two men developed an alpha-numeric code to discuss targets on the phone, court heard, and Beckett told him places he could find money and weapons.

"He told me in his Jaguar, if I needed some money, he had diamonds that were stashed in his Jaguar," the informant said. "They were stashed in the windshield-wiper reservoir."

The informant said Beckett drew him a map showing where the Letts family lived and where he could find a stash of dynamite, which would be used as a weapon and to sell on the black market to finance additional murders.

The informant said he has been in segregation in jail since 2013 because of his involvement with police.

"Inside, in a prison setting, it's the worst thing you can do. There's absolutely nothing worse."

The informant is serving a three-year prison sentence.

- Kamloops This Week