Police 'threatened' murder witness with jail
A WITNESS in the Darren Britza murder investigation was warned by police he could be charged with the offence if he did not point the finger elsewhere.
The revelation came during day four of a trial that will determine whether Bundaberg man Shane Anthony Eric Hansen and former associate Dean Mark Wills were responsible for the brutal 2001 bashing death of the Gold Coast criminal.
Brisbane Supreme Court heard that following the discovery of Britza's skeleton in the Gold Coast Hinterland, a man by the name of Chris Warren took part in a volatile police interview in which he was told "you f*** with us, you get murder”.
Detective Sergeant Shaun McClelland was questioned about the "go hard” strategy, which led one officer to tell Warren "I'll snap your f**king neck” and "do I have to f**king punch you in the head to get your f**king brain working?”
Det Sgt McClelland agreed he had used to words to the effect of: "We're not looking at you for murder ... but don't push me, I will try to get murder ... I'm going home, you're not.”
He also accepted Mr Warren had been warned he would not see his wife and child for 15 years, but rejected the suggestion the comments amounted to an "arbitrary threat to charge someone with murder”.
"It's not the usual method,” Det Sgt McClelland said
"But in my view he was a difficult, unique witness that had information we needed.”
Crown Prosecutor Michael Cowen previously opened the trial this week by telling the jury they would soon learn Britza had been an "unpleasant” person.
Thursday morning's witnesses painted a picture of a violent addict who had "many enemies”, regularly sported black eyes and bruising, and was willing to steal and "rip people off” to support his $250 a day drug habit.
One woman, who had allowed Britza to stay in her home in the late 1990s in the hope of helping him, said she and her partner were regularly paid visits by aggressive drug debt collectors "banging on the door”, wanting to hurt him.
She said that some time after Britza moved out, just days his death in a Southport industrial shed, he broke into her home armed with a baseball bat and demanded money.
One of Britza's former girlfriends was visibly shaken and could not hold back tears as she recalled the regular beatings suffered at his hands throughout the '90s.
She said he stalked her and "kept finding” her wherever she moved until she finally fled the Gold Coast and cut contact with everyone she had known there.
The trial continues.