A Melbourne man who was beaten so severely after a botched robbery attempt that he suffered a brain haemorrhage may still have been alive when his body was being hidden, a jury has heard.
- Dean Alan McGrath died after he was beaten during a botched robbery attempt
- A post-mortem has found he may have been alive when his body was hidden in an air conditioning duct
- David Grierson is on trial for murder, but maintains he was acting in self defence
David Grierson, 46, is on trial in the Supreme Court for the murder of Dean Alan McGrath who was found at a small plumbing factory in Mordialloc on May 19, 2017.
He has been accused of killing Mr McGrath, 41, who had been trying to rob him of drugs and cash.
Mr McGrath worked for a construction company in an adjacent lot.
Two days before his body was found, he visited Mr Grierson’s business armed with a sawn-off shotgun, wearing sunglasses, a hooded top and a scarf over his face.
Prosecutor Peter Chadwick told the jury that Mr McGrath confronted a factory worker, Craig Marshall, and “demanded to know where the drugs and the money were”.
“I thought it was a practical joke,” Mr Marshall said.
He took Mr McGrath to an upstairs office and was shown pipes in the floor which contained the drugs, before he was assaulted.
When Mr Grierson returned to the factory a short time later, Mr McGrath hit him with the butt of his gun and stomped on him.
He found the drugs and money but was not satisfied, the court heard.
“I know you’ve got more, you’ve got thousands,” Mr McGrath allegedly told Mr Grierson.
‘F*** him, you can’t rob me, you can’t do this to me’
The court heard Mr McGrath then put down the gun and picked up a 47 kilogram stone statue and walked towards Mr Grierson.
But Mr Grierson jumped up, knocking Mr McGrath off-balance, and causing the statue to fall on him.
“When he fell to the ground there was a loud thump,” Prosecutor Chadwick said.
Mr Grierson is then alleged to have grabbed the gun and repeatedly struck Mr McGrath in the head, shoulders and neck with it.
The jury heard Grierson ignored calls to stop, saying “f*** him, you can’t rob me, you can’t do this to me.”
The court heard that afterwards, Mr Marshall and Mr Grierson smoked ice before wrapping Mr McGrath’s body in thick black plastic and putting him inside a two-metre long metal pipe used for air conditioning ducts.
Mr Grierson called friends who helped to arrange a truck to take the pipe away the next day.
The prosecutor, Mr Chadwick, said a post-mortem revealed it was “possible Mr McGrath was still alive” when he was being put in the plastic.
No ‘murderous intent’, says defence
But defence lawyer Ashley Halphen, told the jury Mr Grierson had the right to defend himself as a gun was pointed at him.
“You have to ask yourselves this, did Mr Grierson believe he had to do what he did and whether what he did was a reasonable response in the circumstances?” Mr Halphen said.
He said the defendant did not have “any murderous intent.”
“I will submit that the prosecution case already fails even before the impact of the second blow.”
Mr McGrath’s family went to Mr Grierson’s factory to look for him on May 18.
A day later, Mr Grierson gave himself up to police in Mordialloc saying he “had killed Mr McGrath but he did so in self defence”.
The trial before Justice Michael Croucher continues.