A former police officer says 24-year-old Lismore man Jeffrey Brooks feared he was going to “cop a bullet” in the weeks leading up to his death on a Queensland farm in 1996.
Mr Brooks died after being shot in the chest on a Beenleigh farm. Authorities initially ruled he had shot himself by accident.
But Mr Brooks’ family have always believed another person killed their son.
In 1998, a coroner handed down an open finding — meaning that doubts remained about the exact circumstances of Mr Brooks’ death.
Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’ath has now announced a new inquiry will be opened to allow new evidence to be examined.
Jeffrey Brooks’ sister Rachel said while the family welcomed the decision, their campaign for justice had taken a toll.
“We’re emotionally exhausted, but we are very determined,” she said.
“It’s been difficult, there’s been a lot of impact on the family because of this and because of the time and energy and focus that they have put into Jeffrey’s case.
“It’s been really disappointing to see the reception they’ve been given from the people they have reached out to thus far.”
Former police officer Bob Martin told the ABC that Jeffrey Brooks was his son’s best friend, and a regular visitor at their Lismore home in northern New South Wales.
Retired policeman Bob Martin believes the death of Mr Brooks was no accident. (Supplied: Bob Martin)
He said Mr Brooks was fearful for his life in the weeks leading up to his death.
“I think the words were he said [were] he feared he was going to cop a bullet,” the former policeman said.
“It was about a couple of months later that unfortunately he met his end.”
“I thought ‘this is ridiculous’, and I went back to the conversation and thought there’s something going on here.”
Mr Martin said he had worked with the Brooks family for 22 years to uncover the truth about Jeffrey’s death.
He said the police theory that Jeffrey had accidentally shot himself while reaching for a shotgun in an old farm vehicle never made sense.
“We were able to obtain an identical vehicle to the one Jeffrey was in … we had a similar shotgun, same dimensions, we spent ages and we could not see how it could happen. No way in the world,” Mr Martin said.
“You’ve got to go back to the wound and its trajectory in Jeffrey’s body … you had to match up those things to get some sort of idea.”
“We are armed with a mountain of evidence. We have so much more now than what we did when we had the first inquest.”
As yet no date has been set for the new inquest.