Police believe Bruce Saunders was murdered.
Police believe Bruce Saunders was murdered.

Alleged woodchip murder: Witness heard screams of stop

GRUESOME details and confronting video evidence has emerged as two of the three Goomboorian woodchipper murder accused faced court in Gympie today.

The three are accused of killing Nambour man Bruce Saunders and allegedly feeding him through a woodchipper at a Tinana Rd property at Goomboorian in November 2017.

Day One of a scheduled three-day committal hearing was held at Gympie Magistrates Court today and included a warning from police prosecutor Mick Phillips about the confronting nature of some video material, including images of the dead man.

Magistrate Chris Callaghan advised people in the public gallery that they may wish to step outside the courtroom while police bodycam video was shown.

Peter Koenig
Peter Koenig

"If you think footage of the deceased might distress you, it might be best to leave the courtroom and we'll let you know when that's all finished," he said.

Gregory Lee Roser, 60, and Peter John Koenig, 62, appeared in the courtroom dock as prosecution witnesses gave their evidence.

The third accused, Sharon Graham, 55, is awaiting Supreme Court trial on a date to be fixed, after waiving her right to a prior examination of prosecution evidence.

Witnesses unable to be at the hearing gave evidence by phone in one case and video link in another.

wood chipper death Sharon with mo AKA Gregory Roser
wood chipper death Sharon with mo AKA Gregory Roser

 

They were cross examined by barristers John McInnes, for Mr Roser, and Simon Lewis for Mr Koenig.

Witness Cassandra Beckers told the court she had heard someone yell "Stop!" with some level of distress.

Neighbour Bruce Parker said he noticed three men working at the site. He told the court he had a general wariness of machinery but did not get any impression of unsafe work practices.

Retired Forensic Crash Unit officer Steve Webb said the incident had been at first treated as an industrial accident, but said police tended to treat fatal situations as "potential crime scenes".

Gregory Roser
Gregory Roser

Mr Webb said he recalled seeing what appeared to be a high visibility work shirt among Mr Saunders' remains but it was "pretty well mixed up".

Fire fighter Adrian Bond gave evidence by phone from Western Australia of hosing out the woodchipper and police officer Savannah Pratten was questioned on her bodycam footage from the scene.

The footage records her saying, "There's a fair bit of blood there."

She told the court of what appeared to be bodily fluids, including blood, on the otherwise dry ground.

Mr Lewis flagged a possible submission to the court that his client, Mr Koenig that the charge against his client should be downgraded from one involving him directly in a murder to one alleging a role as accessory.

Mr Callaghan adjourned the case, to continue in Maroochydore Magistrates Court on Thursday and Friday.