Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Brothel-owner's murder: man charged

Detectives have charged a man over the shooting death of a radiographer who moonlighted as a brothel owner.

Victor Elliot, 50, was gunned down leaving a new brothel he was building in Morton Street, Chinderah, near Tweed Heads in May 2000.

Mr Elliot had parked his black Mercedes Benz on the footpath and was going to lock the wire gate, when two ex-soldiers pulled up in a 4-wheel drive and blocked Mr Elliot's exit, the NSW Supreme Court heard last year.

The men were trying to kidnap Mr Elliot, but after he resisted and tried to flee he was shot a number of times with a number of guns, including at least two shots from a .22 pistol and twelve from an AK-47 rifle, the court heard.

Last November, the NSW Supreme Court sentenced former soldier Mike Grupe to 14 years in jail after he pleaded guilty to the killing. The other ex-soldier, Dayal Utz, had already been shot dead in 2003 by Grupe in self-defence, the court said.

The two men had been hired by a third man to kidnap Mr Elliot and extort money from him, Acting Justice Peter Berman said in court last year.

Police last night arrested a 34-year-old Banora Point man at Tweed Heads police station.

He was charged with accessory before the fact to murder, accessory before the fact to detain for advantage, and accessory before the fact to armed robbery.

He was refused bail and will face Murwillumbah Local Court today.

Mr Elliot was chief radiographer at Tweed Heads Hospital. At the trial of Grupe, Acting Justice Berman described his death as "truly appalling".

"Two men, only interested in financial reward, and prepared for violence of a most extreme kind, reacted when their plan went awry by shooting either in the direction of, or directly into, Mr Elliot," Acting Justice Berman said.

"He was helpless on the ground having already been shot twice with a .22 pistol at the time Mr Utz fired twelve 7.62 mm bullets into his body."

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