Woodchipper murder trial: Woman accused of murdering her ex-partner allegedly asked her two lovers to kill him
A woman accused of murdering her ex-partner allegedly repeatedly asked her two lovers to kill the third man, a jury has been told.
Sharon Graham is on trial in the Brisbane Supreme Court accused of murdering Bruce Saunders, 54, after he died on a rural property north-east of Gympie in November 2017.
Ms Graham, 61, pleaded not guilty to a single count of murder earlier this week.
Crown prosecutor Todd Fuller KC told the court Ms Graham was the ‘architect’ behind the plot to kill Mr Saunders.
Mr Saunders had assisted two other men, Peter Koenig and Gregory Roser, in clearing trees to assist property owner Goombourian.
Sharon Graham (above) has been charged with the murder of Bruce Saunders after allegedly asking her two boyfriends to kill him.
The jury was told that Mr Saunders was allegedly hit on the head with a metal pole by Mr Saunders. Roser, falling unconscious and his body dumped on a piece of wood on the rural property.
The two men had then told police that Mr Saunders had accidentally fallen into the car, the jury heard.
Ms Graham is said to have arranged for the men to kill Mr Saunders, who she had recently separated from but still lived with in Nambour.
The jury was told Ms Graham was the sole beneficiary of Mr Saunders’ $700,000 life insurance policy and his will.
Koenig told the jury on Wednesday that Ms Graham had asked him to kill Mr Saunders for his life insurance on at least two occasions.
“She wanted Bruce killed,” he said.
Bruce Saunders (above) died in November 2017 at a rural property in Goomboorian, near Gympie
Mr Koenig said he told Ms Graham, with whom he had had a sexual relationship for several years, that he “didn’t want to do it”.
The jury heard that Mrs Graham had arranged for the three men to cut down trees on the rural property three weekends in a row.
Mr. Koenig said he was with Ms. Graham and Mr. Roser during the second weekend of landscaping on November 5, 2017 and heard Ms Graham ask Roser ‘why Bruce wasn’t killed’.
Mr Koenig told the jury that Roser had replied: “There were a lot of people around and the car was playing too”, to which Ms Graham had told him: “It just has to be done”.
Mr Koenig told the court he remembered walking towards the house on the property on November 12 when he felt Mr Saunders ‘brush’ next to him as he collapsed.
He said that then he saw Mr. Roser standing over him with the metal rod.
The court heard Mr. Roser and then allegedly “smashed him (Mr Saunders) in the head again and again”.
Greg Roser (left) and Sharon Graham (right) were in a relationship at the time of Bruce Saunders’ death
Peter Koenig (above) claims Roser phoned Ms Graham and told her: ‘Bruce is dead and he’s gone through the cracks’ after the alleged murder
“He asked me to give him a hand to bring him down to the wood chipper,” Mr. Koenig said.
“I had his legs, Greg had his arms.
“I took it down and stopped a few times down there.”
The jury was told that the body of Mr. Saunders was then driven into the wood chipper before Mr Koenig pressed the emergency stop button, leaving only Mr Koenig’s legs visible. Saunders down the thighs.
Mr. Koenig said that Mr. Roser then called Mrs Graham and told her: ‘Bruce is dead and he’s gone through the chips.’
The jury was told Roser then handed the phone to Mr Koenig, who spoke to Ms Graham, but he said he could not remember what he said before the phone went dead.
Mr Koenig said Roser was wailing and screaming and said he was unable to call triple-0 because his thumbs were shaking.
The two men then returned to the main house on the property and told the owner: ‘There’s been an accident, Bruce went through the chips.’
The jury heard that Mr. Saunders had known Mr. Koenig for several years, but that he had only recently met Mr. Koenig. Roser, whom he knew as Roger.
Sharon Graham (above) had been living with Bruce Saunders in Nambour at the time of his death
Mr Koenig said Ms Graham had asked him to refer to Roser as Roger when they were around Saunders because she did not want her ex-partner to know who her new partner was.
When asked by Ms Graham’s defense barrister, Peter Richards, if there was any reason why he did not tell his ‘good friend’ Mr. Saunders about the murder plot, Mr Koenig simply answered ‘no’.
The trial continues before Judge Peter Burns.
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