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Woodchipper murder trial: Property owner tells Bruce Saunders trial his death 'didn't make sense'

Bruce Saunders (pictured) died while working on property north of Brisbane in 2017

The owner of the property where Bruce Saunders’ body was found in a wood chipper says he didn’t make sense after asking questions about the horrific death, a court heard.

At first, Sharon Beighton was in shock when she was told that Bruce Saunders had fallen into a wood chipper in a “terrible accident” on her property.

But Ms Beighton later thought it was nonsense after asking Gregory Lee Roser about the tragedy, she told the Brisbane High Court.

Roser, 63, and Sharon Graham, 61, were charged with murder after Saunders, 54, was killed while working at the Beighton estate 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 in order to claim his $750,000 life insurance policy.

Bruce Saunders (pictured) died while working on property north of Brisbane in 2017

Bruce Saunders (pictured) died while working on property north of Brisbane in 2017

Mrs Beighton had fallen asleep while Mr Saunders, Roser and Koenig were clearing trees on their property near Gympie before being rudely awakened.

She said that when she came out, Koenig appeared in shock and it looked like Roser was throwing up.

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‘I remember…thinking where is Bruce?’ Mrs Beighton told the court on Tuesday.

‘Peter said ‘there’s been a terrible accident’. Greg told me, “I tried to save him, I tried to get him out…he went through the chipper.”

Ms. Beighton said she was surprised the police were not called, but was told that Roser’s phone did not have coverage.

She told the jury that her property had a “great” reception.

However, Ms Beighton said that Roser told her later that he had called Graham “at the chipper” to tell him what happened, and had to call an ambulance because “his blood pressure shot up”.

Gregory Lee Roser (centre), 63, and Sharon Graham (right), 61, are on trial after being charged with the murder of Bruce Saunders. Peter Koenig (left) pleaded guilty to accessory to murder in June

When Roser and Koenig returned from the police station where they gave evidence, Ms Beighton said she asked what had happened.

She said that Roser told her that Mr. Saunders had been an “absolute idiot that day” and that he had been “standing on the chipper, leaning on it.”

Roser also told him that Mr. Saunders had been “dizzy” and bleeding that day after a branch hit him in the head.

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However, Mrs Beighton said that she had seen Mr Saunders before and that he appeared to be in good health.

I didn’t see any blood on Bruce, so it didn’t make sense to me. I think he was in shock (so) I didn’t think to question a lot of things until later,” he said.

Sharon Beighton told the trial of her surprise when she was told that Bruce Saunders had fallen into a wood chipper in a “terrible accident” on her property (pictured), but then realized it made no sense after asking questions about the tragedy.

Graham was in a ‘love ring’ with Roser, Koenig and Mr. Saunders, plotting the latter’s murder for months, the court heard.

Mrs Beighton’s granddaughter told the jury that Graham would make a “big deal” about how much money Mr Saunders had and that “he would die first and she would get all of it”.

Keira-Lee Beighton confirmed that Graham also said ‘it’s not my fault that he loves me and wants to give me everything’.

However, former coworkers said Saunders was in debt and had to borrow money to support Graham’s lifestyle, but he never mentioned it to his partner for fear of losing her.

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Keren Armstrong said that Saunders would burst into tears telling her that Graham had hit him.

Bruce Saunders’ colleagues told the court he was ‘pretty scared’ of Sharon Graham (pictured)

Another colleague, Christeena Grills, said that a month before her death, a “distressed” Mr. Saunders had called saying Graham was verbally abusive.

Mr. Saunders had also told her that Graham was “dominant and controlling” and that he was “quite afraid of her”, the court heard.

Grills said Graham had told Saunders that a former associate “knew people who knew how to make someone disappear.”

Graham would also demand money, with Mr. Saunders at one stage ‘giving in’ and paying him $11,000, the court heard.

When Mrs. Grills suggested that she leave Graham, Mr. Saunders told her, “I know I have to do it,” but he didn’t know how to do it.

Roser and Graham have pleaded not guilty to murder.

The trial before Judge Martin Burns continues.

Bruce Saunders (pictured), 54, was allegedly killed and fed through a chipper.

Bruce Saunders (pictured), 54, was allegedly killed and fed through a chipper.

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