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'Leave a piece of him': Guilty verdict in wood chipper murder trial

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Five years after Bruce Saunders’ body was found in a wood chipper, Gregory Lee Roser has been found guilty of what the victim’s son called the “most gruesome and evil” murder.

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Roser, 63, received a life sentence when he was found to have bludgeoned Saunders with a metal bar at a property north of Brisbane in November 2017.

The body was then fed into the chipper with the assistance of another man, Peter Koenig.

“My dad does not deserve to be remembered as the woodchipper victim,” Saunders’ son Blake said in an impact victim statement read to the court.

“My dad was a kind, happy, hardworking, wonderful man.”

At his five week Brisbane Supreme Court trial, Roser did not deny that Saunders was murdered.

Roser conceded that he had “shamefully” assisted with disposing of the body in the chipper then lied about it, telling police it had been an industrial accident.

However, Roser accused Koenig of killing Saunders while they were clearing trees at the Goomboorian property near Gympie.

After they began deliberating on Tuesday afternoon, the jury found Roser guilty on Friday morning with Saunders’ family and friends in attendance.

Roser showed no emotion.

“He (Mr Saunders) was kind and generous to a fault, that … probably became a fatal fault,” Justice Martin Burns told Roser.

The disposal of Saunders’ body was beyond the imagination of any decent human being, Justice Burns said.

“But you are not a decent human being, far from it,” he told Roser.

The Crown alleged that Sharon Graham asked her lovers Roser and Koenig to kill her ex-partner Saunders and make it look like an accident in a bid to claim his $750,000 life insurance.

Roser said he refused despite pressure from Graham and Koenig to murder the “happy go lucky” Saunders.

However, Koenig claimed Roser repeatedly bludgeoned Saunders with a metal bar as they finished work at the property.

Koenig told the court that he helped carry the body to the chipper because Roser had a bad back.

Koenig said he fed Saunders into the machine, leaving the legs sticking out to make it look more like an accident.

“Just to leave a bit of Bruce… for the police to see,” he said.

Saunders was killed after becoming embroiled in a “love quadrangle”, the court heard.

Graham was living with Saunders albeit in separate bedrooms and was in a relationship with Roser while also having “intimate relations” with Koenig.

Saunders was still “besotted” with Graham, the court heard, making out his will and life insurance policy in her favour.

Graham, 61, and Roser had pleaded not guilty to murder before the former successfully applied for a separate trial.

Koenig pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to murder earlier this year.

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