Toolbox murders: Partner tells of frantic calls to missing man

The partner of a man found dead in a submerged toolbox south of Brisbane has emotionally told a court of her desperate attempts to contact him after his disappearance, not realising the “extraordinarily barbaric” circumstances of his death.

Miranda Parkinson, the partner of the late Cory Breton, held back tears as she described the last time she saw Breton dropping her off at the airport on January 20, 2016.

Days after she left Brisbane, Breton and Iuliana Triscaru were allegedly lured to a unit over a photograph taken of a New Zealand man, assaulted, tied up and stuffed into a large toolbox that was then dumped in a lagoon at Scrubby Creek near Logan.

Parkinson made frantic phone calls in a bid to reach him but would not learn of the grim circumstances of his death until a month later.

Police made the chilling discovery of the pair’s decomposing bodies when the toolbox was pulled from the lagoon on February 11.

Trent Michael Thrupp, Davy Malu Junior Taiao, Stou Daniels and Waylon Ngaketo Cowan Walker have each pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder.

Taiao, Thrupp and Daniels will also each fight two counts of torture.

It’s understood Taiao and Daniels are New Zealanders.

Three other New Zealanders have already been sentenced for their roles in the slayings. Tepuna Tupuna Mariri, 29, was jailed for 13 years after pleading to two counts of manslaughter and two counts of torture. Webbstar Latu, 31, has been sentenced to 12 years jail after pleading guilty to manslaughter for helping carry the toolbox. Ngatokoona Mareiti, 40, was sentenced to nine years after helping clean an apartment after the crime.

On Tuesday, Parkinson told Brisbane Supreme Court the last time she saw her partner alive was as he dropped her at the airport with their daughter.

Parkinson and her daughter flew to Newcastle and she last heard from him on January 23.

“I believe I called him, he missed the call and then returned it,” Parkinson said.

Parkinson held back tears as she told the court of her attempts to call him, leaving voice messages in the hope he would answer.

“I couldn’t tell you (how many times) … every couple of hours probably,” she said.

She said she had been with Breton for about 10 years and there had been “very few” times where he had been out of contact for more than 24 hours.

Parkinson said she became concerned after Breton did not pick her up from the airport on January 29.

Upon returning home in Logan, she said she had to break into the house through the bedroom window as she did not have a key.

“There were dog faeces, clothes scattered everywhere, the dogs were very distressed,” Parkinson said.

Parkinson reported Breton missing a day later.

On February 9, she took part in a media conference with Triscaru’s mother asking for information about the pair’s disappearance.

Two days later, the toolbox was extracted from the lagoon at Scrubby Creek.

On Monday, crown prosecutor David Meredith said Breton and Triscaru likely died from drowning or asphyxiation.

He said if the facts of the case were true, the killing of the pair was “extraordinarily barbaric” and a “breathtakingly evil” act.

“These people were put into a toolbox and kept there for several hours, obviously fearing what might happen to them … (then) taken to a creek and drowned,” Meredith told the jury on Monday.

The court was told Breton was lured to the unit over a drug dispute, relating to a picture he had of Stou Daniels on his phone.

Defence lawyers representing all four men have raised concerns with key witnesses in the case, claiming they have histories of drug abuse and mental illness.

The trial, before Justice David Boddice, continues.

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