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The former lover of a woman accused of plotting another ex-partner’s murder by having him fed into a woodchipper claimed to police the slain man was trying to retrieve his phone when he met his grisly fate.

Sharon Graham is on trial at Brisbane Supreme Court charged with the murder of Bruce Saunders in 2017 after he died in a woodchipper.

She has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

On Thursday, a 2018 police interview with Peter Koenig, her former lover, was played to the jury where he maintained he did not murder the 54-year-old.

Describing the grisly scene, Mr Koenig said: “You know what dead kangaroos smell like?”

In the footage played to the court, detectives grilled him about how Mr Saunders could have died in the woodchipper, to which Mr Koenig claims the man was trying to retrieve his mobile phone when it was misplaced near the machine.

Mr Saunders, 54, died after being dragged into an industrial woodchipper while clearing trees at a property northeast of Gympie on November 12, 2017.

At the time he was working with two other men, Peter Koenig and Gregory Roser, fixing up the Goomboorian property for a recently widowed woman looking to sell.

All three men had been romantically involved with Ms Graham, Crown prosecutor Todd Fuller told the jury in his opening.

The jury was told Mr Saunders was allegedly struck in the head with an iron bar by Mr Roser, falling unconscious, before his body was “gruesomely” disposed of in the woodchipper by Mr Roser and Mr Koenig.

Crown prosecutor Todd Fuller told the jury all three men had been romantically involved with Ms Graham.

The Crown contends Ms Graham counselled and procured Mr Saunders’ murder at the hands of Mr Roser – her then lover at the time – as she stood to gain his $750,000 life insurance policy and the contents of his will.

Ms Graham’s defence barrister Peter Richards told the jury that his client did not counsel or procure the men to kill Mr Saunders.

In his opening last Tuesday, he urged the jury to pay close attention to Mr Koenig’s reliability and credibility as a witness in the proceedings.

“As far as Sharon Graham understood it, Mr Saunders died as a result of an accident,” Mr Richards said.

During the recorded interview on February 2, 2018, Mr Koenig tells officers he last saw Mr Saunders working on the side of the woodchipper before he went through the machine.

He says he heard Mr Roser yelling “Bruce, Bruce” before hearing a “change” in the sound from the machine.

Mr Koenig tells police he turned the machine off, seeing Mr Saunders’ legs in the machine.

One detective tells Mr Koenig: “The evidence indicates there was an altercation behind the chipper (and) Bruce was put in.”

He is asked about blood droplets on the bottom of the woodchipper, with the detective stating several appeared to have come from a “vertical source”.

“So Bruce has gone into the woodchipper, where do you expect the blood to come from? What would cause Bruce to bleed?” The detective asks.

“The chipper … the blades,” Mr Koenig answers.

The detective then asks: “How do you explain that blood, being in a pool, at the back of the tailgate of the chipper?”

“It suggests Bruce has been assaulted … and placed into the chipper, by you, or Greg, or both of you.”

Mr Koenig denies there was any altercation, telling the detectives the droplets were likely from a head injury Mr Saunders had sustained when a branch fell on him.

“It doesn’t magically appear there,” another detective asks.

“The ‘I don’t know’ is a bit hard to take when you’ve got a significant blood pattern.”

The detectives are heard asking Mr Koenig if he has any knowledge of what happened at the back of the woodchipper, to which he answers he doesn’t.

He is told by the detective the version he’s giving is “not plausible”.

Later in the tape, Mr Koenig suggests Mr Saunders went into the woodchipper “after his phone”.

“You’ve made mention of his phone, do you know where it is now?” A detective asks.

Mr Koenig answers: “It’s out at Sharon Beighton’s place … not all of it.”

The detectives question why he didn’t come down to see emergency services when they arrived at the property and give his version of events on the night of Mr Saunders’ death.

“There was not a triple-0 call made from Sharon’s place,” one detective asks.

“Why did Greg Roser ring Sharon Graham before he rang an ambulance or police when a man is half-consumed in a woodchipper?”

The trial continues.

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By Rahul

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