Bruce Saunders was working on a rural Queensland property, two hours north of Brisbane, in November when he was dragged into a woodchipper and killed.

Originally thought to be a tragic accident, Queensland Police today announced it was launching a homicide investigation after it determined his death was suspicious.

Detectives raided the property in Goomboorian, north of Gympie, over the weekend, where the death occurred, and uncovered a number of "items of interest".


HOMICIDE: Police and SES comb a rural property at Goomboorian on February 4, looking for further clues relating to the suspicious death of a 54-year-old man. He died in November 2017 following an incident involving an industrial wood chipper.

Posted by Queensland Police Service on Thursday, 8 February 2018

Those items have now been seized for forensic examination and officers from the state's Homicide Investigation Unit are helping local police.


In a press conference earlier today, Detective Inspector Gary Pettiford said police was unable to confirm what exactly those key items are but they had been given a number of "promising lines" of enquiries.

Pettiford said Gympie detectives were contacted by people who knew Saunders and had suggested his death might not of been an accident.

Those tips led to detectives launching a criminal investigation and are now treating his death as a homicide.

Pettiford said detectives had been working "around the clock" since the 54-year-old man's death on November 12.

"We've now reached an informed conclusion that the death of Mr Saunders is suspicious," he said.

Bruce Saunders was hailed on social media as
Bruce Saunders was hailed on social media as "a decent fella with a heart of gold".

Saunders and two males were helping a female friend clean up her Goomboorian property as an "act of goodwill" when the horror incident occured.

The woman, who had recently lost her husband and was in the process of selling the property, had asked the men for help.

They had been helping the widow for the past three weekends and were minutes away from finishing for the night. Questions were raised about the men using the shredder in the dark but Pettiford said the incident, which occured at 7.40pm, happened when it had only just started to go dark.

It was going to be the last day they'd use the shredder and help their friend.

Police said the woman was "extremely upset" and was helping them with their investigation.

Pettiford said police were unable to comment on if the death was random or pre-meditated but did say they were searching for a motive.

He was also unable to comment on if Saunders was dead before he went into the woodchipper.

The detective said he was "confident" their investigation would end with charges being laid.

In November, Gympie Police acting inspector Paul Algie said the circumstances were "horrific" but they weren't treating the death as suspicious.

"I went out there this morning to speak to officers from Brisbane and I'd have to say it's one of the worst incident scenes I've ever seen," he told the Gympie Times at the time.

"There was nothing that could be done to save this gentleman.

"It was actually quite horrific. His friends discovered him as he became entangled and attempted to extract him from the shredder and were unable to do so. So they're obviously quite traumatised now," Insp Algie said in November.

Maryborough Forensics Inspector Steve Webb told Channel Nine at the time: "They are all friends and they were doing a favour for the lady that owns the property sadly."