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Man found in woodchipper had a ‘safety first’ at work approach, court hears


As a butcher, Bruce Saunders had a “safety first” approach at work before his body was found in a woodchipper, a court has heard.
Sharon Graham, 61, and Gregory Lee Roser, 63, have pleaded not guilty to murder after Saunders, 54, died while working on a property north of Brisbane in November 2017.

Graham is accused of asking Roser and another man, Peter Koenig, to kill Saunders and make it look like an accident to claim her ex-partner’s $750,000 life insurance policy.

Sharon Graham, 61, and Gregory Lee Roser, 63, pleaded not guilty to the murder of Bruce Saunders in Brisbane.
Sharon Graham, 61, and Gregory Lee Roser, 63, pleaded not guilty to the murder of Bruce Saunders in Brisbane. (Supplied)

The jury has been shown pictures and police video of Saunders’ legs protruding from the chipper at the Goomboorian property near Gympie after he had been clearing trees with Roser and Koenig.

Roser and Koenig told the property’s owner after the tragedy that Saunders had been an “absolute idiot on the day” and had been standing on the chipper, leaning back into it, the Brisbane Supreme Court has heard.

Graham’s friend Leonie Whyte also earlier told the jury that Koenig and Roser said Saunders’ death was an accident after he had been “messing around” with machinery and “wasn’t being very careful”.

However, work colleagues on Friday said Saunders was safety conscious, always wore protective gear and was careful around band saws as a butcher.

“He was good, always wore his mesh glove, safety was always first with him,” Joseph Sciberas told the jury.

Fellow butcher Ross Mills told the court that Saunders would definitely not act recklessly at the workplace.

“He was very tidy, not clumsy, really careful working with the band saw,” he said.

Sharon Graham, 61, and Bruce Saunders, 54, whose body was found in a woodchipper in Brisbane in 2017.
Sharon Graham, 61, and Bruce Saunders, 54, whose body was found in a woodchipper in Brisbane in 2017. (Supplied)

Graham has been accused of being in a “love quadrangle” with Roser, Koenig and Saunders, plotting the latter’s murder for months.

Sciberas told the court that Saunders said Graham had left him for another man but later returned “like nothing had happened” to his Nambour home to live in a separate bedroom.

Graham had told Saunders “to go out and get another woman, she didn’t want to be in a relationship anymore”, another work colleague Mark Bridger told the court.

But during what became his final shifts Saunders told Bridger that he had bought a caravan and built an extension to his Nambour house because Graham wanted it.

He said Saunders told him he had “refinanced things to make it happen so she was happy”.

Bridger said Saunders didn’t know where Graham went on weekends but thought she was visiting her ex-husband, however “couldn’t prove it”.

Saunders also often said that he “wanted to provide everything for her but she wanted nothing to do with him” and that Graham had blocked him on Facebook, Bridger told the jury.

Bruce Saunders was murdered and put in a woodchipper in Gympie, Queensland.
The jury saw pictures of Bruce Saunders’ legs protruding from the chipper at the Goomboorian property near Gympie (Supplied)

Meanwhile, Justice Martin Burns dismissed an application for a mistrial by Graham’s barrister Peter Richards after evidence from Saunders’ friend Demelsa Watts on Friday.

Watts said Saunders had told her in a phone conversation that Graham knew “some unsavoury people if you ever need someone knocked off”.

She said Saunders laughed after she told him to “be careful, it could happen to him”, the court heard.

“When assessing that sort of evidence the statement said to have been made to Ms Watts was obviously not under oath, it was a telephone conversation,” Burns told the jury.

“What Mr Saunders told Ms Watts … is untested and untestable because Mr Saunders sadly of course can’t be examined to ascertain its reliability.

“I warn you that you need to exercise caution in deciding whether to accept it is reliable.”



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