Death of man dragged into woodchipper treated as suspicious
9 February 2018, 09:54
The death of a butcher who was dragged into an industrial woodchipper is being treated by police as suspicious.
Bruce Saunders and two friends were using the hired woodchipper to clear branches near a family friend's home in Goomboorian, Queensland, eastern Australia, when he fell in and died "within a few seconds".
The 54-year-old's death last November was initially treated as an accident, but police now say it is suspicious after discovering "several items of interest" at the scene and establishing "a number of promising lines of enquiry".
Inspector Gary Pettiford said the items are being forensically examined and officers have re-interviewed Mr Saunders' friends, who told police they did not see him enter the woodchipper.
Insp Pettiford said: "Information we received during the course of our coronial investigations has led us to believe that the death is suspicious and we have a number of detectives and police experts investigating this incident.
"I urge anyone with any information that could assist us with our investigations to come forward."
An expert has found there were no faults with the woodchipper, which has a 15-inch blade and a number of safety features.
Insp Pettford said it was set up in a way that would prevent a user from being pulled into the blades if they fell in.
However, people have previously been pulled into woodchippers when trapped on logs, he added.
At the time of the death, Inspector Paul Algie said the incident was "horrific" and described it as "one of the worse scenes I've ever seen".
Mr Saunders, originally from Bundaberg, was described by his family as "a happy person that took everything in his stride".
His brother-in-law told the News Mail: "Last time I saw him he was laughing and happy and even my staff said that he was such a happy go lucky person.
"I will always remember his smile."
(c) Sky News 2018: Death of man dragged into woodchipper treated as suspicious