Four on Trial Over Drug-Related Murder in South Australia

Australian Associated Press is an Australian news agency.
September 14, 2020Updated: September 14, 2020

An Adelaide man growing drugs in his home was beaten to death by a group of men who came to steal his cannabis crop, a court has heard.

Benjamin John Mitchell, 33, Alfred Claude Rigney, 44, Matt Bernard Tenhoopen, 25, and Aaron Donald Carver, 37, have gone on trial in the Supreme Court charged with the murder of Urim Gjabri in October 2018.

The 46-year-old, an Albanian national who came to Australia as a refugee, was found dead in the rental property, his body discovered by a friend in a pool of dried blood.

Opening the trial on Sept 14, prosecutor Rob Walker told the jury that Gjabri died of severe blunt force trauma to the head.

He had his skull caved in, suffering several fractures, Walker said.

On the crown case, each of the accused were party to a plan to commit a home invasion or robbery because they went to his home and emerged with his cannabis.

The court was told that during investigations, police found the DNA of two of the accused inside the dead man’s house.

They also found the DNA of a third defendant on the steering wheel of Gjabri’s car.

However, the jury heard the prosecution could not say who actually killed the victim or how many blows he suffered.

Walker said that was not necessary to prove the charge of murder.

The court was told Gjabri’s injuries would not have killed him straight away and he may have walked around the home for some time.

His body was not found until three days after the attack and robbery.

It was alleged the accused initially loaded the cannabis into the dead man’s car in garbage bags but soon after transferred it to two other cars before fleeing the scene, leaving a portion of the crop behind.

The trial was continuing.

Tim Dornin in Adelaide