Shotgun bashing killing in ‘self defence’

A Melbourne factory owner allegedly crossed a line from self-defence to murder when he repeatedly and fatally bashed a gun-wielding intruder in the head with his own weapon.

But David Grierson claims he was only protecting himself from Dean McGrath, who violently attacked him at the Braeside metal fabrication factory as he demanded money and drugs.

McGrath, 41, came to the warehouse with a sawn-off shotgun and holed Grierson and his boilermaker colleague Craig Marshall up in an upstairs office that evening in May 2017, prosecutors say.

He struck Grierson in the head with pliers and stomped on his neck, demanding he hand over money and drugs, which were stashed at the premises, the Supreme Court was told on Friday.

But the tables turned when McGrath picked up a heavy ornamental statue and carried it towards Grierson, who was sprawled on the floor.

“Mr Grierson suddenly leapt to his feet and Mr McGrath lost his balance, falling sideways to the ground with the statue, weighting some 47kg, falling on him,” prosecutor Peter Chadwick QC told the jury.

“Mr Grierson then grabbed the shotgun and he started hitting Mr McGrath with the gun.”

The prosecutor said Grierson’s actions up to a point were justified but soon the time to be defending himself “had passed”.

“Mr Grierson repeatedly hit Mr McGrath with the gun around the head, shoulders and neck,” he said.

“They were hard hits, with Mr Grierson wielding the gun like it was a bat.”

“There was no struggle or fight. Mr McGrath was not defending himself in any way,” Mr Chadwick said.

But Grierson’s barrister, Ashley Halphen, said his client acted in self defence after a “masked intruder” came into the factory armed with a shotgun and “unleashed violence”.

“There is a defence to the charge of murder and it’s as obvious as the gun pointed at Mr Grierson and the attacks inflicted upon him by this man,” Mr Halphen told the jury.

“And that defence is the time-honoured right to defend oneself.”

After realising Mr McGrath was dead, Grierson organised for the body to be wrapped in plastic and stashed inside a large metal air conditioning duct.

At Grierson’s request, Mr Marshall cut the shotgun into pieces and scattered them around the industrial neighbourhood, the jury heard.

But the next day Mr McGrath’s family came knocking at the factory and Grierson handed himself in to police.

The jury heard Grierson had been selling drugs to an associate of Mr McGrath’s and that’s how he knew what was kept at the factory.

The trial continues before Justice Michael Croucher.

© AAP 2018

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