Timothy Pullen.
Timothy Pullen.

Timothy Pullen murder linked to drug debt, court hears

A $30,000 drug debt was revealed as the likely motivation behind the suspected murder of Mackay man Timothy Pullen as his alleged killer was refused bail.

Justice Peter Flanagan deemed Zane Tray Lincoln, from the Sunshine Coast, a flight risk and was concerned he would interfere with witnesses if granted bail.

Brisbane Supreme Court heard on Wednesday how Mr Lincoln was previously convicted of influencing witnesses in NSW and witnesses, including two co-accused, and potential witnesses were fearful of retribution for speaking against him.

Justice Flanagan said the 35-year-old did have strong ties to the Sunshine Coast with his own truck business, marriage to a teacher and five children aged nine to 15

But he said a $100,000 surety, strict reporting conditions, a curfew, prohibiting contact with witnesses and surrendering a NZ passport were not sufficient to ameliorate the risk.

The court heard Mr Lincoln and Mr Pullen had a previous altercation over a $30,000 drug debt and the alleged murder might have been over the same sum.

Mr Pullen, whose body has never been found, was facing charges relating to one of North Queensland's largest drug busts when he went missing on April 16, 2012.

Amanda Robinson, acting for the Crown, said there was evidence of discussions about "a $30,000 bounty on his head" between Mr Lincoln and two co-accused the day before the alleged murder.

She said there were plans to visit Mr Pullen's unit the next day, which occurred, and a neighbour described seeing someone who looked similar to Mr Lincoln.

Ms Robinson said there was Nissan Navara found with Mr Pullen's blood and Mr Lincoln had a connection to the person in that vehicle.

She said that person was Stephen Dale Renwick, who has been charged disposing of the body and accessory after the murder, with Luke Shayne Kister.

Ms Robinson said there was extensive contact between the co-accused around the time of the offence, including the day before and after.

She said the police brief was voluminous, including more than 300 witness statements, and the defence would request to cross-examine about 40 witnesses during a hearing in November.

Barrister Greg McGuire had argued statements from co-accused Nicholas Voorwinden, 31, and Kiera Jeannette McKay, 26, - who are both charged with manslaughter - were not admissible against his client unless they were indemnified or dealt with.

He said this made the Crown case "extraordinarily weak", especially when another key witness in a Crime and Misconduct Commission hearing had also since recanted her statement.

"They can't be forced to be called at their own committal nor at his committal if there was one separately," he said.

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