Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Roger Rogerson had keys to Padstow storage unit months before Jamie Gao murder

THE man who leased the storage unit where Jamie   was murdered later told police he believed one key might be missing from the set he loaned his friend Roger Rogerson, a jury has been told.
The jury hearing the evidence in the murder trial of Rogerson, 72, and Glen McNamara, 56, was today read two statements from a man named Michael McGuire, who is now dead.
The court heard Mr McGuire signed a lease agreement for Unit 803 of Rent A Space, Padstow in February 2014, two months before Gao was shot twice at close range inside the small, powerless space, in order to store office furniture.
Rogerson and McNamara have pleaded not guilty to murdering Gao on May 20, 2014, and taking part in the supply of the 2.78kg of ice it is alleged Gao brought to the unit.
Mr McGuire said in the first of his two statements, made on May 25, 2014, that he had known Rogerson for 12 years through their mutual association with the Bulldogs rugby league club, and McNamara for roughly six years.
In his first statement, the jury heard McGuire last saw Rogerson on May 23, 2014, when they met up at a Lugarno cafe, in Sydney’s south, because Rogerson had asked his friend if he could borrow a mobile phone “as his phone was playing up”.
“I gave Roger an old Nokia telephone. I was only at the cafe for about ten minutes and went back to work. Since this time I have not seen or spoken to Roger,” his statement said.
The jury was told that in his first statement Mr McGuire said that he had been in possession of the keys to the storage unit ever since his friend Michael Free moved some office furniture into the space on February 24, 2014.
But in a second statement, made on May 29, 2014, Mr McGuire recalled that he had loaned the keys to Rogerson in March of that year because he wanted to offer him the use of some office furniture.

The jury heard that while the pair were at the Grandviews Bowling Club, Mr McGuire thought Rogerson may like the use of an office chair and a printer “for his home office where he runs his public speaking venture from”.
“Roger said he was interested in looking at my furniture,” Mr McGuire’s statement said, adding that about three days about this talk, he handed over the keys inside a white envelope.
“I cannot be sure how many keys were on the key ring for the 803 locks, but I assumed at the time there were about six or eight keys as there are two locks to the storage unit and I assumed it must be an even number,” his statement said.
The jury heard that Rogerson gave the keys back about three days later and declined the use of any office furniture.
Mr McGuire’s second statement said that he was told by police that the keychain he handed over to them after Gao was murdered had only five keys.
“It was the first time I had ever paid attention to the amount of keys that I had for the storage unit...I assumed there we I can six keys on the key ring.”
The trial continues before Justice Geoffrey Bellew.

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