true crime

Jeffrey Brooks feared he would be killed with a shot gun. Within weeks, he was dead.

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.”

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Brooks’ former boss also said the 24-year-old was always extremely careful around guns.

“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.”

Tonight, with the help of a team of forensic experts, Sunday Night will conduct ballistic tests and shine new light on Brooks’ mysterious death.

Sunday Night airs on Channel Seven at 8:15pm. 

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