On March 13, 1996, Jeffrey Brooks was killed by a shot gun wound.
He was just 24 years old.
Police detectives ruled the experienced shooter had accidentally killed himself at the Beenleigh Crayfish Farm, where he was employed at the time. He was found slumped in the front seat of a ute.
According to News.com.au, police said an old shot gun had gone off when he had dragged it out – by the barrel – from the back of the ute, on the farm south of Brisbane.
But not everyone believed this story.
In the weeks leading up to his murder, Brooks had told several people he was fearing for his life. The young scientist said his colleagues on the farm had threatened him after he had discovered they were selling crayfish on the side.
Greg Milham, the farm’s co-owner, phoned triple 0 after hearing about Brooks’ death and asked police to treat it as a homicide. Milham said Brooks had been threatened by his co-workers.
At a coronial inquest, Brooks’ best friend Paul Martin and former boss John Pick also testified that the young man had been fearing for his life.
However, Coroner Trevor Anders delivered an open finding, unable to rule out murder or accident.
In 2018, the Courier-Mail investigated the case on their true crime podcast, Dead Wrong.
As part of the series they presented a letter written by Pick, who has since died. In the letter, Pick described how terrified Brooks was.
“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.”
A lot of people coming forward with information on the Jeffrey Brooks case, including a friend who dropped in photographs and shared memories. #DeadWrongPodcast @couriermail https://t.co/LwFjxD0Tkr pic.twitter.com/mBNlecrLDQ
— Kate Kyriacou (@KateKyriacou) 12 July 2018