Brothel owner slain in ‘kidnap bid’
KILLER Mike Grupe met Chinderah brothel owner Daniel Clayton Scott and army mate Dayal Utz at a Gold Coast motel to plan the kidnapping and robbing of Tweed Heads businessman Victor Elliot of $500,000.
They told Grupe that Elliot was a drug dealer and the money would be split three ways.
Grupe, now serving 14 years’ jail for his role in Mr Elliot’s murder outside his newly-built Chinderah brothel in May 2000, made the claim while giving evidence yesterday in the Lismore Local Court.
Grupe, the main Crown witness in the murder committal hearing against Scott, 34, of Banora Point, said he now knew Mr Elliot had been a radiologist at Tweed Hospital and not a drug dealer.
Scott faces three charges of incite to murder; detaining for advantage and causing injury; and assault with intent to rob while armed with a dangerous weapon.
Mr Elliot was gunned down by Utz and Grupe, both former soldiers who were wearing balaclavas and wielding a .22 handgun and AK-47 rifles. The Crown alleges that Scott, Mr Elliot’s business partner in another Tweed brothel, was behind the murder.
Grupe was acquitted in a Queensland court of later murdering Utz near the Sunshine Coast on the grounds it had been self-defence.
Grupe said yesterday Scott, when visiting the motel, had photos of Mr Elliot with his ‘handlebar-moustache’ and drawings of floor plans of Mr Elliot’s house.
He was told Mr Elliot had ‘crossed’ Scott and ended up with the house that once belonged to Scott’s father. The money was said to be hidden in a secret compartment in the roof, built by Scott’s father ‘to hide stuff’.
Asked by the Crown prosecutor if there had been any plans to shoot Mr Elliot, Grupe replied ‘No, no money in that’.
Grupe said Utz fired first, shooting Mr Elliot with a .22 handgun. Grupe said he fired a burst of shots with an AK-47 around Mr Elliot’s feet, but did not hit the brothel owner.
Grupe’s evidence in the afternoon contrasted with his reluctant and glum appearance in the morning, where he appeared spooked – hanging his head and answering many questions with ‘I don’t remember’.
When Magistrate Paul Lyons asked him if he was choosing not to remember because of safety concerns, Grupe replied ‘Yes, that’s right’.
It was revealed Grupe was driven to the court in the same prison van as Scott on Tuesday. However, Grupe denied Scott spoke to him. Questioned by defence barrister Wayne Flynn, Grupe acknowledged that by giving evidence against Scott his own jail sentence might later be cut.