Man found in shredder had ‘safety first’ at work, court hearings

As a butcher, Bruce Saunders took a “safety first” approach to work before his body was found in a wood chipper, 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 site north of Brisbane in Nov 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 Brisbane murder of Bruce Saunders.
Sharon Graham, 61, and Gregory Lee Roser, 63, pleaded not guilty to the Brisbane murder of Bruce Saunders. (Delivered)

The jury was shown photos and police videos of Saunders’ legs sticking out of the chipper on the Goomboorian site at Gympie after he cut trees with Roser and Koenig.

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

Graham’s friend Leonie Whyte also previously told the jury that Koenig and Roser said Saunders’ death was an accident after he “tumbled” with machines and “wasn’t very careful”.

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

“He was good, always wore his mesh glove, safety was always his number one priority,” Joseph Sciberas told the jury.

Fellow butcher Ross Mills told the court that Saunders would certainly not act recklessly in the workplace.

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

Sharon Graham, 61, and Bruce Saunders, 54, whose bodies were found in a wood chipper in Brisbane in 2017.
Sharon Graham, 61, and Bruce Saunders, 54, whose bodies were found in a wood chipper in Brisbane in 2017. (Delivered)

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

Sciberas told the court Saunders said Graham left him for another man but later returned “as if 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 colleague Mark Bridger told the court.

But during what became his last shifts, Saunders told Bridger that he had bought a caravan and built an extension to his home in Nambour because Graham wanted to.

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

Bridger said Saunders didn’t know where Graham was going over the weekend but thought she was visiting her ex-husband but “couldn’t prove it”.

Saunders also often said he “wanted everything for her but she didn’t want anything to do with him” and that Graham had blocked him on Facebook, Bridger told the jury.

Bruce Saunders was murdered and put in a wood chipper in Gympie, Queensland.
The judges saw photos of Bruce Saunders’ legs sticking out of the shredder on the Goomboorian site at Gympie (Delivered)

Meanwhile, Judge Martin Burns turned down a mistrial by Graham’s attorney Peter Richards after evidence from Saunders’ friend Demelsa Watts on Friday.

Watts said Saunders had told her in a phone call that Graham “knew some unsavory people if you ever need to turn someone off”.

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

“In reviewing that kind of evidence, the statement allegedly made to Ms Watts was clearly not under oath, it was a telephone conversation,” Burns told the jury.

“What Mr Saunders has said to Mrs Watts … is untested and untestable because, unfortunately, Mr Saunders cannot be examined to establish its reliability.

“I warn you to be careful when deciding whether to accept it reliably.”

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