Rebels bikie club members shot dead a custom
car builder in the driveway of his shop after a dispute over a highly prized and
unique motorcycle, a court has heard.
Laurie Starling, 29, was found slumped behind
the wheel of his car with his mobile phone in his hand after being shot twice
outside his business the Chop Shop in West Gosford in July 2014.
His alleged killer, John Weston, 36,
who was a member of the Rebels, is on trial for murder in the NSW
Mr Weston's co-accused, who can only
be identified as witness G, pleaded guilty to murder last week and will
now give evidence against his former associate.
In his opening address to the jury on Tuesday,
Crown prosecutor Trevor Bailey said Mr Starling had bought an expensive
motorbike "prized within the motorcycle community" from another custom
vehicle builder who had a dispute with a high ranking member of the Rebels.
Rebels members paid Mr Starling a visit,
demanding the bike and threatening to hurt him if he did not hand it over. Mr
Starling, the court heard, gave up the bike but feeling "cheated" he asked an
influential member of the motorcycle community to help him get it back. This,
the court heard, did not sit well with the Rebels.
Witness G is expected to give evidence that Mr
Weston approached him and said " they were going to go to the Chop Shop" to
"give Mr Starling a touch up".
On the evening he was killed, Mr Starling had
stayed back working late and was in the process of locking up his shop gate when
he was shot.
A couple cleaning a property nearby reported
hearing cracking sounds and a man shouting "no you bastard" before he started
A man picking his sister up from a dance
studio noticed Mr Starling's car, revving loudly and releasing exhaust fumes but
not moving, in the driveway of the Chop Shop.
"According to a trail of blood spots leading
up to the car, Mr Starling appears to have been shot near the gate entrance and
moved a short distance to the driver seat of his car where he collapsed and died
at the wheel," Mr Bailey told the jury.
While the jury does not have to determine who
the shooter was to prove the charge, witness G is expected to give evidence that
it was Weston who pulled the trigger.
Mr Weston later allegedly told a panicked
witness G "we are not going to jail...if someone is going to jail it would be
Another witness, identified only as witness A,
is expected to give evidence that when Mr Weston returned to his home that
evening, they saw him place dark clothes in the washing machine.
The following day, the court heard, Mr Weston
told witness A to drive to an area of bush in Gosford where he picked up a
jumper, track suit pants and a gun.
Witness A saw the firearm that he had fetched
from the bush being cut up with an oxy acetylene torch and then the pieces were
thrown from a bridge in to water.
Witness A later heard a tinkling sound in
a bathroom and discovered Mr Weston putting unspent cartridges into a sink.
Mr Weston has pleaded not guilty to murder.
His defence barrister Gabriel Wendler told the court his client will not dispute
that he was there when Mr Starling was shot but will give evidence that he was
not part of any plan to kill or injure him.
"The accused's case is that he did not shoot
the deceased, he was not party to any joint criminal enterprise, he did not
know that witness G was armed and would use lethal force in relation to Mr
Starling," Mr Wendler said.