Court hears drug dealer's murder
BONES found at the bottom of a cliff at the Pinnacle on the Border Ranges hold the key to unravelling a murder conspiracy surrounding the death of Gold Coast drug dealer Saaid Zaiter.
Zaiter is believed to have been murdered in a cabin at Chinderah with the investigation trail leading to Lismore, Casino, Kyogle and Victoria.
In Lismore Local Court this week a Crown prosecutor said it was no secret human bones had been found in bushland and prosecutors were waiting on forensic testing for them to be positively identified.
Police and the Crown expect the remains will be identified as those of Zaiter and will verify suspicions his body was thrown over the edge of a cliff sometime after he was last seen alive leaving his Surfers Paradise unit on December 16, 2008. A silver Land Rover Discovery Zaiter used was later found burnt out at Barkers Vale.
Charges against five people accused of being involved with the murder of Zaiter, 46, were before the court with police documents describing him as ‘well known for his involvement in organised large-scale manufacture and distribution of drugs between Sydney and Surfers Paradise’.
Rodney Boyd White, 43, alias ‘Rock’ from Chinderah and Kamarooka in Victoria, and Lismore man Ricky Leigh Humphries, 26, are both charged with Zaiter’s murder.
White’s girlfriend Jessica Birkensleigh, 23, Matthew Warner, 26, from Lismore, and Kyogle man Peter Elefsen, 37, are each charged with being an accessory after the fact to murder.
In details previously before the court, police accuse White of bashing Zaiter to death in a cabin at Tweed Heritage Caravan Park where Zaiter went to provide White drugs in exchange for a large sum of money.
Police say a section of carpet had been cut and removed from the cabin with blood spatter found inside testing positive to blood matching the DNA profile of Zaiter.
Cable ties were also found in the cabin.
White is accused of organising Elefsen to meet him near Kyogle with a can of fuel.
A tow truck operator, organised by White to remove Zaiter’s Land Rover from the caravan park, was alleged to have been stopped by White along Kyogle Road.
The Land Rover was removed from the tow truck and taken to Barkers Vale by White, Elefsen and Humphries where its burnt out remains were found by police.
Items from the Chinderah cabin and mobile phones belonging to Birkensleigh and White were located by police in a Casino storage shed.
Police documents state the day before the alleged murder Birkensleigh purchased dozens of cable ties from a Casino hardware store and four new mobile phones using a debit card in the name of an alias.
A station wagon rented by White from Coolangatta Airport was found abandoned in January 2009 beneath the Lismore Square Shopping Centre.
A small piece of carpet underlay found inside the car was said to be consistent with the fibres from the underlay in the cabin.
Elefsen, from Green Pigeon, has been granted $20,000 bail while the other four remain in custody, although it was stated in court by lawyer James Fuggle that Birkensleigh intended to apply for Supreme Court bail in Sydney.
All matters were adjourned to March 16.