Killer turns on a mate
KILLER Mike Grupe met Chinderah brothel owner Daniel Clayton Scott and army mate Dayal Utz at a Gold Coast motel where plans were made to kidnap and rob Tweed businessman Victor Elliot of $500,000 said to be hidden in his home, with the two men telling Grupe he was a drug dealer. The money was to be split three ways.
Grupe, now serving 14 years jail for his role in the murder of Mr Elliot outside his newly-built brothel in May 2000, made the claim while giving evidence yesterday in Lismore Local Court as the main Crown witness in the murder committal hearing against Scott, 34, from Banora Point.
Grupe said he now knew Mr Elliot had been a radiologist at Tweed Hospital and not a drug dealer.
Scott, who remains in custody, faces three charges laid in 2008 of incite to murder, detaining for advantage and causing injury, and assault with intent to rob while armed with a dangerous weapon.
Mr Elliot was gunned down by Utz and Grupe, both former soldiers, wearing balaclavas and wielding a .22 handgun and AK-47 rifles in May 2000, with the Crown alleging Scott, Mr Elliot’s business partner in another Tweed brothel previously owned by Scott’s father, was behind the murder.
Grupe was acquitted in a Queensland court of later murdering Utz near the Sunshine Coast on the grounds it had been self-defence.
Grupe yesterday told the court Scott, when visiting the motel, had photos of Mr Elliot with his handlebar moustache and drawings of floor plans of the house lived in by Mr Elliot, a house previously owned by Scott’s father.
He was told Mr Elliot was Scott’s business partner who had “crossed him” and ended up with his house. The money was said to be hidden in a secret compartment in the roof, built by Scott’s father “to hide stuff”.
Asked by the Crown prosecutor if there had been any plans to shoot Mr Elliot, Grupe replied: “No, no money in that.”
Grupe said Utz first shot Mr Elliot with a .22 hand gun. Grupe said he fired a burst of shots with an AK-47 around Mr Elliot’s feet but did not believe his bullets struck the brothel owner.
Grupe’s evidence in the afternoon was in stark contrast to his reluctant and glum court appearance in the morning when he appeared spooked – hanging his head down and answering nearly all questions put by the Crown about his previous police statements by repeatedly saying “I don’t remember”.
When magistrate Paul Lyons asked him if he was choosing not to remember because of safety concerns? Grupe replied: “Yes that’s right.”
Grupe alleged his safety was compromised in jail by reprisal after giving evidence.