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

Aaron Bunch
Hefty price on murdered toolbox drug dealer’s head

A murdered drug dealer had “$50,000 on his head” before he was locked in a toolbox that was thrown in a creek, a court has been told.

February 5, 2020

A murdered drug dealer with “$50,000 on his head” was preparing to flee a day before he was locked in a toolbox with an associate and thrown in a lagoon, a court has been told.

Cory Breton and Iuliana Triscaru’s decomposing bodies were found in February 2016 after police dragged the large metal box from Scrubby Creek south of Brisbane.

The pair had been lured to a unit and assaulted by a group of men in Kingston 18 days earlier after Mr Breton disclosed to a school friend he had a photo of a drug dealer on his phone.

“This is a photograph of Stou Daniels the prosecution says is what the trial is all about,” prosecutor David Meredith told Brisbane Supreme Court on Wednesday.

In the hours after they arrived at the two-storey home, the pair were bashed with a pole, bound and gagged, witness Lelan Harrington told the jury.

“I heard (one of the men associated with Daniels) cock the gun … then I heard a scuffle

“Then I heard the music go up … loud thuds and Cory screaming while his mouth was covered

“Cory was asking me how could I clear his name,” he said.

“I couldn’t believe what was going on.”

The allegations have surfaced at the murder trial for Tuhirangi-Thomas Tahiata, 28, who prosecutor David Meredith says drove the box with the pair inside to the creek beside the Logan Motorway and helped drag it to the water’s edge.

Tahiata denies it.

But Harrington said he spotted Tahiata at the unit the same day as the toolbox was loaded onto the green Toyota Hilux ute, that the Crown says was used to carry it to the creek.

He said he also saw Tahiata with Daniels and Trent Thrupp, who Mr Meredith said pushed the toolbox into the water as Tahiata watched.

The court heard, the night before Mr Breton was called to the unit he confided to Harrington that he was preparing to flee Brisbane.

“Cory told me someone had 50 grand on him and he was going away up north,” he said.

The trial also heard from a former convenience store owner, Phat Tan Khuu, who said he sent Mr Breton the photo in question of Daniels after enquiring of him who he bought his drugs from.

“(He said) he got them from Islanders

“I just asked him if this was the guy and he replied yes. It was on my security camera … I took a screenshot,” he said.

Mr Breton later replied: “Yeah he’s a big-timer. Not a person to f**k with. LOL.”

The court has heard that as Tahiata and Thrupp dragged the toolbox to the water Mr Breton and Ms Triscaru screamed and begged for their lives.

Tahiata then allegedly handed Thrupp a claw hammer so he could punch holes in the box to help it sink.

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

The court heard Tahiata barely knew Ms Triscaru and didn’t know Mr Breton at all.

He murdered them because he was asked to, not because he had a motive himself, Mr Meredith said.

Tahiata initially denied involvement in the killings but on February 10 confessed and took police to the site.

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

The trial continues.

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