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

Aaron Bunch
Man found guilty of double toolbox murder

Queensland man Tuhirangi-Thomas Tahiata has been found guilty of murdering two drug dealers who were locked in a toolbox and dumped in a creek.

February 21, 2020

A Queensland man who helped dump two drug dealers locked inside a toolbox into a creek where they died has been found guilty of murder.

Tuhirangi-Thomas Tahiata, 28, didn’t force Cory Breton and Iuliana Triscaru at knifepoint into the metal box in Kingston, south of Brisbane, on January 24, 2016.

But he helped take the toolbox to Scrubby Creek where a man named Trent Thrupp allegedly pushed it into the water after saying: “Time to die”.

Mr Breton’s and Ms Triscaru’s decomposing bodies were found 18 days later.

Tahiata’s Brisbane Supreme Court trial heard the duo had been lured to a townhouse by a group of his schoolmates.

The men bashed them bloody with a metal pole after a photograph of the group’s alleged leader, Stou Daniels, was found on Mr Breton’s phone.

Tahiata initially told police he wasn’t involved, saying he was too busy smoking drugs and saving for a house to kill.

He then confessed to the murders but said he’d killed them by himself and would never “snitch” on his mates.

But after spending a night in a cell, the concrete worker changed his story again and said it was his mates who had planned the murders.

He told detectives he was called in to help because “none of them could drive a manual”.

Tahiata also admitted helping carry the toolbox to his ute and driving to the lagoon beside the Logan Motorway.

He said he and Thrupp dumped the box with Mr Breton, 28, and Ms Triscaru, 31, screaming inside at the water’s edge before Thrupp pushed it into the water.

Tahiata told police the duo had pleaded for their lives and he fired a shotgun into the air to scare them into silence.

It didn’t work so Tahiata sat in his car listening to music while Thrupp stood on top of the floating box until it sank five minutes later, he said.

He also admitted to handing Thrupp a claw hammer so he could smash a hole in the box.

Days later Tahiata returned to the scene after spotting the toolbox floating as he drove past on the motorway.

He told detectives he, Thrupp and another man then piled rocks onto the toolbox until it sank again.

Prosecutor David Meredith said Tahiata’s actions were “breathtakingly evil”.

Despite admitting his role in the killings to police, Tahiata pleaded not guilty.

His lawyer, Chris Minnery, told the jury his client’s confessions were ridiculous stories that shouldn’t be believed.

He said the Crown had little hard evidence about what happened at the creek and no eyewitnesses.

The jury didn’t agree.

Tahiata will be sentenced at a later date.

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