National

Qld killer feared he’d lose everything

By AAP Newswire

Reputation is everything in the business world, and when Trung The Ma felt he was going to lose his, he bashed a man to death with a hammer.

The Brisbane financial planner has admitted killing his former No.1 client Huegio Bonham, 63, and hiding his body in storage after their business relationship soured.

But he is fighting a murder charge on mental health grounds.

In an interview played to a Brisbane Supreme Court jury, Ma withheld from police for almost three hours that he'd killed Mr Bonham.

When detectives revealed they knew his black Subaru was at Mr Bonham's Gold Coast house on February 3, 2014, Ma muttered "I'm in big trouble".

He then admitted he went there to confront Mr Bonham about the deterioration of their relationship.

"He was going to take everything away from me," Ma tearfully told police, the court heard on Thursday.

"He threatened to take my business down. I apologised for not meeting his expectations ... but he didn't accept that.

"It was at that point I became unstable. I felt everything that I'd worked for was about to collapse.

"I didn't want him to leave on bad terms because reputation was everything in our business. It wasn't right for him to bash our business."

Ma, 35, said he began to "lose control".

When Mr Bonham turned his back, Ma struck twice with a hammer he says he found on a bookshelf.

"The room started spinning," he said.

"I lost my mind. Struck him on the head with a hammer.

"I just saw my whole life going down the drain because I just hit this man in the head. It was over.

"I don't know how long I was thinking there. It was almost like I could feel myself standing outside my body."

Mr Bonham began to "stir" and "I just hit him for a third time and that was it", Ma said.

Ma's defence lawyer argues his responsibility for killing Mr Bonham, a spiritual guru, was diminished because his state of mind was altered over fears about his business.

But prosecutors rejected his guilty plea to the lesser charge of manslaughter, alleging he murdered his client because it would be discovered he was defrauding him of $700,000.

Ma initially told police his relationship with Mr Bonham was normal but subject to the ups and downs of financial markets.

He said he was in meetings at the time of the killing on February 3.

After killing him, Ma wrapped up Mr Bonham's body in a sleeping bag, dragged it to his car and cleaned up the blood.

He then drove to a Bunnings store at Oxley and bought a large container, placing the body in it before taking it to storage in Indooroopilly two days later.

"I couldn't believe what I'd done," he said.

"I (thought) maybe no one will ever know about this. I can just be with my daughter and my wife."

The trial continues.