Witness feared he would be murdered
“I FEARED for my life sir. They would have killed me,” Crown witness Jason Weeding told a murder committal hearing when asked why he previously lied to police about his knowledge of the murder of Tweed Hospital radiographer and Chinderah brothel owner Victor Elliot.
Mr Weeding, who is not charged with any crime, was giving evidence yesterday in a committal hearing against Tweed brothel owner Daniel Clayton Scott, 34, who faces 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 outside his newly built brothel in May 2000 by Mike Grupe and Dayal Utz both clad in balaclava’s and armed with a .22 hand gun and AK-47s stolen by the two former soldiers from a military museum in Townsville.
Cross-examined by Scott’s defence counsel Wayne Flynn about why he ‘told lies’ to police investigating the murder and an attempted home invasion/robbery at Mt Warning Rd outside Murwillumbah involving him, Grupe and Utz, Mr Weeding said he feared for his safety because he knew the pair had committed murder.
He said Utz, who was later shot dead by Grupe in self defence, ‘was definitely more dangerous’.
“He was the loose cannon I believe sir,” Mr Weeding said.
“He (Utz) would go from calm erupting into a raging personality like he had a split personality.”
The former army employee said less than a week after Mr Elliot’s murder, Grupe was back in Townsville and confessed his role in the killing, telling him they had gone to do a job and it all went wrong, that it wasn’t supposed to be like that.
“Dayal (Utz) just went nuts,” he said.
Mr Weeding said he took that to mean the murder wasn’t meant to happen.
“I told him I didn’t want to know about it but it was like he was gushing out the details,” he said.
Grupe also told him Utz got angry when Mr Elliot pulled his balaclava down.
“I was shocked and overwhelmed with what Grupe told me. I previously had fears about them and now my fears were proven,” he said.
Mr Weeding said he had been the driver of a stolen army vehicle used before the murder to do a ‘collection job’ for Scott in December 1999 at a Mt Warning Road property, taking Utz and Grupe there to pick up money allegedly owed to Scott. The job was not done when people at the property called police.
Answering questions put by Mr Flynn, Mr Weeding said he gave evidence on three days at a Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission hearing that included the murder of Mr Elliot
Earlier, under cross-examination by Mr Flynn, Grupe, who is serving 14 years for Mr Elliot’s murder, admitted perjuring himself in some of his evidence on Wednesday by answering questions from the prosecutor with ‘I don’t remember’.
Grupe revealed he did this because of personal safety fears he held.
However, he began answering questions following a break in proceedings.
When asked by Mr Flynn why he then began to give evidence after speaking to police officers in his cell, Grupe said he was told people had been charged in relation to three murders in Queensland, and he and Scott were no longer considered suspects.
Magistrate Paul Lyons is expected to make a decision today on whether to commit Scott for trial.