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Cheryl Goodenough

Woodchipper death victim 'feared partner leaving him'

Barry Collins told the court about a gun he was given by a friend after a break-in. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

Weeks before Bruce Saunders' body was put in a woodchipper the butcher spoke about taking out a life insurance policy and marrying the woman now accused of his murder, a jury has heard.

Mr Saunders was hit on the head with an iron bar after sunset on November 12, 2017 and his body fed into an industrial woodchipper to make it look like an accident, a Brisbane court has been told.

Prosecutors allege Sharon Graham was the "architect" of the alleged murder plan to get money from Mr Saunders' insurance.

She is accused of asking her then partner Greg Roser and Peter Koenig to kill Mr Saunders, who died while the men cleared vegetation on a friend's rural property in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.

Mr Saunders and Graham had been in an "on and off" relationship, the Brisbane Supreme Court heard on Friday.

The butcher burst into tears around September 2017 in the supermarket where he worked and was a "bit of a mess" talking about things being bad at home, work colleague Mark Bridger said.

Later Mr Saunders said everything had changed, the couple was again sleeping in the same bedroom and planned to marry.

He also spoke of putting a life insurance policy on himself, Mr Bridger added.

Another colleague Karen Armstrong said Mr Saunders' greatest fear was of Graham leaving him so he hadn't admitted still being married to his second wife Bernadette although they were no longer in a relationship.

"He was always just scared if he did tell her that she would leave him - he was terrified about that," Ms Armstrong told the court.

"She would often threaten to leave him - that was his biggest push button, I guess you could call it."

The court heard Graham handed out Mr Saunders' clothing and made people wear his T-shirts, at a Christmas family gathering after his death.

"I thought that was really odd," Graham's daughter's then boyfriend Hans Hurzlmeier said.

He also told the court of a conversation about his relationship with Rebecca Graham.

"Sharon asked me if I could get her (Rebecca) pregnant so we would have a child together and she said if we did that for her that she could offer us a house."

Graham's partner until about 2015 Barry Collins told the court about a gun he was given by a friend after a break-in at a secluded South Australian property where the couple lived before moving to Queensland.

Mr Collins said they were driving out the property for the last time when he remembered putting the gun "under a two tonne rock" about two years earlier.

He was going to throw it into a river when Koenig - an employee in Mr Collins' trucking company - asked to have it, he told the court.

In an affidavit supporting an earlier bail application by Graham, Mr Collins said his partner of 10 years was an honest, timid person who was afraid of violence, the court heard.

He also told a lawyer that if a crime had been committed in relation to Mr Saunders' death it was not his ex-partner's doing.

Mr Collins agreed when asked if he had said to the lawyer "there was no way Sharon could have put this together as she is a sheep".

The court heard Collins was sentenced in 2009 for trafficking drugs and was in custody in 2019 after about 47kg of cannabis was found in a truck he was driving.

The trial continues.

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