Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Rex Martinich

Woman planned 'barbaric' woodchipper murder, court told

The prosecution alleges Peter Koenig helped feed the victim's body into a woodchipper. (Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS)

A woman has been accused of being the "architect" of an alleged plan to murder her ex-partner and disguise the crime as a horrific woodchipper accident.

Sharon Graham, 62, formerly of Nambour, pleaded not guilty in Brisbane Supreme Court on Monday to the murder of Bruce James Saunders at a rural Goomboorian property, about 70 km north-west of the Sunshine Coast.

The matter proceeded to trial and crown prosecutor Todd Fuller KC told the jury Graham procured Greg Roser to kill Mr Saunders and then, with the help of Peter Koenig, to feed a substantial portion of his body into an industrial woodchipper.

Mr Fuller said Mr Saunders's death on November 11, 2017 seemed to have been a terrible accident while clearing vegetation from a five-acre house and land plot that belonged to Graham's friend.

"But the reality is far more serious than that. His death was no accident, it was an intentional killing," he said.

Mr Fuller said Graham, who was on Centrelink benefits at the time, wanted Mr Saunders to die so she would gain ownership of his house and car along with a combined $830,000 payout from his life insurance and superannuation.

Mr Fuller told the jury that after the three men spent a day working to clear trees, Roser hit Mr Saunders from behind with an iron bar and repeatedly struck him on the head until he stopped moving.

"(Graham) is the architect of that day. What unfolded was her design," he said.

In what Mr Fuller described as an incomprehensible and barbaric act, Koenig then helped Roser carry Mr Saunders to the woodchipper and ran his body through it as they held onto his legs, creating a 15-metre field of human remains and shredded clothing.

Mr Fuller said Koenig, in return for a reduced sentence, would testify he was told by Graham to lie to police to to cover up the murder as an accident.

"He has as they say, some skin in the game ... look carefully at his evidence," he said.

Graham's defence barrister, Peter Richards, in a brief opening statement said his client conceded she was the beneficiary of Mr Saunders's estate but at no time did she ask, counsel or procure Roser or Koenig to kill him.

"A central issue in this trial will be the credibility and reliability of Peter Koenig," Mr Richards said.

The owner of the property that was being cleared of vegetation, Sharon Bateman, began testifying on Monday and told the court she saw Mr Saunders a few hours before his death and he had no sign of injury.

Mr Fuller had earlier said Koenig would testify to Graham having instructed him to mention in an interview with police Mr Saunders had been struck on the head by a tree branch while working at the property.

The trial was due to continue for another two weeks before Justice Martin Burns.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.