Murder victims ‘called out’ from toolbox as it sank
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THE victims of a horrific double murder, who died after being thrown into a creek in a metal toolbox, were calling out and pleading for their lives when lowered into the water, Brisbane Supreme Court has been told.
Tuhirangi-Thomas Tahiata is on trial over the murders of Cory Breton and Iuliana Triscaru, who died in Kingston in January 2016.
The 28-year-old pleaded not guilty to both killings this morning.
During his opening address, Crown prosecutor David Meredith told the jury Tahiata was accused of being party to the double murder of the pair, who were lured to a unit at Kingston south of Brisbane before being assaulted, bound with tape and laid inside a large metal toolbox.
The motive for the murder was a miscommunication over drugs, the court has been told.
Hours after Breton and Triscaru were beaten and loaded into a large metal toolbox, they were placed on the back of Tahiata's ute before the 28-year-old drove with another man, Trent Thrupp, to a lagoon off Mudgee St, Mr Meredith alleged.
"The toolbox was taken off the utility, Thrupp then pushed it into the lagoon… they were still alive and he made sure it sunk. This was in the presence of the accused," Mr Meredith said.
"According to the accused, in his interview with police, he said Breton and Triscaru were still calling out, pleading for their lives."
Their bodies were found in Scrubby Creek near the Logan Motorway at Kingston after Tahiata several weeks later showed police divers where they had been dumped.
The court was told Tahiata confessed to the killing, but initially said he had acted alone.
The Crown alleges his original confession was made during a break between police interviews.
"He then breaks down and says, 'I murdered those people,' " Mr Meredith told the jury.
The court heard Tahiata then told officers he fired a shot in the air in an attempt to silence the pair as they were being dumped in the waterway.
He assisted Mr Thrupp to break holes in the toolbox with a claw hammer, Mr Meredith said.
During his opening address, Mr Meredith described the crime as a "breathtakingly evil act".
Earlier this morning, jurors were told they could be excused from the case if they believed they could not give the man a fair hearing, due to the confronting nature of the allegations.
Supreme Court justice Peter Davis addressed the jury about its duty to be impartial during the double murder trial.
He said the conduct alleged to have occurred by Tahiata and others was "somewhat confronting".
"It is alleged that the deceased, while still alive, were thrown in a body of water," Mr Davis said, adding it was alleged the pair died either from drowning or asphyxiation.
"Your duty as jurors is to consider the evidence objectively and dispassionately… if you consider that the allegations are of such a nature that you may not cope with the trial or otherwise not be able to perform your duty as a juror… then you must say so."
No jurors indicated they could not be impartial during the trial.
Tahiata's trial is expected to last for up to three weeks, during which more than 40 witnesses will be called to give evidence.
Several other people had been charged over the killings, the jury was told.
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