'Love quadrangle' behind woodchipper death

·3-min read

When Bruce Saunders was found in a woodchipper, only his legs were remaining.

But he was dead before his body was fed into the machine after unwittingly becoming embroiled in a "love quadrangle", the Brisbane Supreme Court has been told.

Gregory Lee Roser, 63, and Sharon Graham, 61, are on trial for the murder of "good natured" Mr Saunders.

Police initially believed Mr Saunders, 54, died in an industrial accident while clearing a friend's property near Gympie north of Brisbane in November 2017.

When emergency crews responded to a call they found Mr Saunders in the woodchipper at Goomboorian.

"All that was left of the body was the legs from about just above the knees down," crown prosecutor David Meredith told the jury on Monday.

"He was ... put into the chipper to hide the fact that it was murder."

Roser and Graham had been planning Mr Saunders' murder for up to six months, the prosecutor said.

Mr Saunders was living with Graham but was "worth a great deal more" to her dead than alive.

He had made out a will and taken out a life policy in favour of Graham that was increased to $750,000 a week before his death, the court heard.

Mr Meredith said a police recording would be played of Graham calling the insurance company days after Mr Saunders' death about collecting the money.

"Sharon Graham had a powerful motive for wanting Bruce Saunders dead," Mr Meredith said.

Graham first asked Roser to kill Mr Saunders in a plan that evolved over time, the prosecutor said.

Finally they decided to kill Mr Saunders and make it look like an accident while clearing trees at the property, bringing in another man Peter Koenig.

Graham was living with Mr Saunders but at the time was in a relationship with Roser and may have also had "intimate relations" with Koenig.

"This is a love quadrangle," Mr Meredith said.

"Because Peter Koenig, Gregory Roser and Bruce Saunders were all in love it seems ... at some stage with Sharon Graham."

Koenig pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to murder in June 2022, the jury was told.

He is expected to give evidence during the four-week trial, saying Graham asked him and Roser to murder Mr Saunders.

Roser was eventually the one who killed Mr Saunders by hitting him in the head with an iron bar before the body was fed into the chipper, the prosecutor said.

Photos were shown of the woodchipper with Mr Saunders' legs protruding from one end before the prosecutor went into more detail about the fatal attack.

Koenig said he saw Roser kill Mr Saunders by striking his head "two to three times" with the iron bar after the trio had finished clearing trees for the day, the court heard.

Koenig helped carry Mr Saunders' body to the woodchipper and then pushed the corpse into the machine with a piece of wood.

Roser does not dispute that Mr Saunders was murdered but he "did not do it", his defence barrister Lars Falcongreen said.

However, he did help dispose of the body and lied about his involvement, Mr Falcongreen added.

"The pivotal question on our case will be whether Mr Koenig was responsible for the murder that evening or whether Mr Roser was," he said.

Roser also did not dispute the claim that Graham "counselled and procured" the murder but denied he was asked to kill Mr Saunders.

Roser and Graham have pleaded not guilty to murder.

The trial before Justice Martin Burns continues.