Aaron Bunch Journalist with Australian Associated Press | Collection of published work | + 61 484 008 119 | abunch@aap.com.au

Aaron Bunch
Toolbox murder victims ‘pleaded for lives’

Two drug dealers, who allegedly died after they were lured to a home, locked in a toolbox and thrown into water, screamed for their lives, a court has heard.

February 4, 2020

Two drug dealers screamed out and pleaded for their lives from inside a toolbox as it was pushed into a creek before they died, a court has been told.

Cory Breton and Iuliana Triscaru’s decomposing bodies were found inside the large metal box after police pulled it from a creek south of Brisbane.

The pair had been lured to a unit in Kingston 18 days earlier, assaulted and tied up before being forced into the box, the Brisbane Supreme Court heard on Tuesday.

Tuhirangi-Thomas Tahiata, 28, is accused of two counts of murder for allegedly driving the box with Mr Breton and Ms Triscaru inside to Scrubby Creek in Kingston on January 24, 2016.

He denies the charges but prosecutor David Meredith says Tahiata used his Toyota Hilux ute to transport the pair to the lagoon beside the Logan Motorway with another man about 9pm.

“He then got out of the car and helped drag it off,” he said.

“He could hear both people yelling … ‘get me out of here … get me out of here’.”

The other man then allegedly pushed the box into the water but it failed to sink.

“At this time the screaming from inside the box became louder,” Mr Meredith said.

“He heard (the other man) say ‘time to die’.”

Tahiata then allegedly fired off a round from a shotgun to quieten the pair down but “the screams got louder”.

He then handed the other man a claw hammer so he could punch holes in the box to help it sink, Mr Meredith said.

“He then watched (the other man) jump on the toolbox … who then hammered into the side,” he said.

Mr Meredith said Tahiata’s actions were a “breathtakingly evil act” that encouraged the other man to cause the death of Mr Breton and Ms Triscaru.

The motive for killing the pair was clearly held by others and not Tahiata, he said.

“Tahiata barely knows Iuliana Triscaru … and he doesn’t know Cory Breton. He does it because he’s asked to, not because he has a motive himself,” he said

Earlier, the court heard Mr Breton and Ms Triscaru were called to the unit about midday after Mr Breton was discovered with a photo of an alleged drug dealer on his mobile phone.

Mr Meredith said Tahiata and the other man initially drove the pair inside the box to a nearby quarry but the gates were locked.

It was then that Tahiata’s co-accused suggested they take them to the creek.

He said Tahiata denied he was involved in the killings to detectives but on February 10 confessed and took officers to the site.

The following day, police used a mobile crane to pull the box from the water.

The court heard Mr Breton and Ms Triscaru either drowned or suffocated.

Mr Meredith said the toolbox had been weighed down with rocks and pieces of concrete after it was spotted floating from the motorway.

“But this didn’t happen in the night but rather in early February,” he said.

The trial continues on Wednesday.

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