Axe & drugs link

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
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Det. Sen. Sgt Jon Munday with the alleged murder weapon
Camera IconDet. Sen. Sgt Jon Munday with the alleged murder weapon Credit: WA police

The man accused of murdering Busselton man Sam Daryl Riley allegedly “shot up” a prescription opioid with his alleged victim before brutally chopping him 21 times in the head with an axe.

On Wednesday, Busselton District Court was told Benjamin John Elliott was let into Mr Riley’s Carter Street unit on the night of October 29, 2018.

Tragically Mr Riley was found brutally murdered the next day.

Two days later police found a Fiskars Tomahawk axe in a canal behind the unit, under a footbridge to Queen Elizabeth Street, with ballistic analysis discovering Mr Riley’s blood embedded in the axe head.

Police allege upon inflicting 21 “chop-like, deeply incised wounds” to Mr Riley’s head Mr Elliott stumbled to the bathroom to clean himself and fled across the footbridge, disposing of the axe and his blood-splattered shoes.

Mr Riley’s parents watched in the public gallery as chilling details of their son’s murder were described in court.

Prosecuting lawyer Brett Tooker told the court Mr Elliott’s DNA was found in seven locations inside the unit, including on a used syringe, the bed where Mr Riley’s body was found, and the bathroom sink.

“DNA results are of critical importance in this case,” he said.

“Prosecution will allege they shared the needle that night.”

It is believed that Mr Riley met Mr Elliott while attending Busselton Senior High School, and although they did not attend the school at the same time they were the same age and known acquaintances.

Earlier in the week 33-year-old Mr Elliott made a last-minute decision to defend himself and pleaded not guilty. Justice Stephen Hall told the court it was unusual for a person charged with murder to defend themselves, and as such the trial was delayed for two days to hear several pre-trial matters.

“Usually during a trial of this nature you would expect the defendant to be represented by a lawyer,” Justice Hall said.

Prosecutors intend to call more than 65 witnesses in the four-week trial, which will continue on Monday.

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