Dead Wrong true crime podcast: Boss sent this letter after Jeffrey Brooks shot dead
JEFFREY Brooks’ former boss wrote a startling letter to a coroner, begging to be heard over the young scientist’s terror that he was about to be killed.
The letter, obtained by The Courier-Mail as part of its investigative true crime podcast series Dead Wrong, forms part of the coronial file from the inquest into Jeffrey’s death on a farm south of Brisbane in 1996.
Coroner Trevor Anders delivered an open finding, saying Jeffrey’s death was either murder or an accident.
In the letter, John Pick said Jeffrey, a scientist who’d been employed to work at the Beenleigh Crayfish Farm on his recommendation as a former partner, told him he thought his colleagues were going to murder him.
Jeffrey had claimed that his colleagues had threatened him after he discovered they were selling crayfish for cash on the side.
His death, from a gunshot wound, was determined by police to be an accident.
“Jeff expressed concerns for his own safety,” the letter said.
“Jeff further told me that he felt that he would WEAR A BULLET directed at him ... during bird predation.”
He said soon after, on March 13, 1996, he received a call from his former business partner’s wife telling him Jeffrey was dead.
Mr Pick, in his letter, wrote that he immediately called the farm.
The call was answered by the manager’s wife. Both the manager and his wife lived in a house on the grounds of the property.
I said ‘was it true what happened?’. (Her) reply was ‘that it was terrible the things that had happened to us, after all the things we had done for the farm’s success’. I replied ‘no, about Jeff Brooks’. (She) said ‘HE IS NOTHING – NOT EVEN WORTH CONSIDERING’.
“My blood boiled. After what happened, to be confronted with the attitude of ‘what’s happened to us’ then upon correction to my enquiry, ‘he is nothing’.
“There was so much venom in those words, so much obvious hatred, so soon after Jeff’s death, while (her) only concern was for herself and her husband.
“At that moment of stunned silence, I felt that they had done this to Jeff. I slammed the phone down in rage, in revulsion. I was flabbergasted and stunned.”
Mr Pick, who has since passed away, said he refused to believe Jeffrey had shot himself accidentally because the weapon found under his body – an old, dilapidated shotgun – was one he refused to touch.
“I refuse to believe this was an accident as I know Jeff’s routine with firearms was always of extreme caution and safety,” he wrote.
“Jeff had expressed his concern that a shooting would result in his death. He had expressed this to me and others on more than one occasion. It had now come true. In my heart of hearts, I know Jeff would not have used the shotgun that killed him, let alone had such an ‘accident’ with it.
“It is pitiful and sad that after months of threats, Jeff Brooks’ apprehension for his safety has resulted in his untimely death.”