Ruger seller may have come to sports store after murder: witness

Ruger seller may have come to sports store after murder: witness

A man may have tried to sell a Ruger 10/22 with a threaded barrel to a Queanbeyan sports store after Colin Winchester had been shot, the owner's son said.

The ACT Supreme Court heard on Monday that Peter Reid – who had been aged 15 in early 1989 – had told police investigating Mr Winchester’s murder that he could not recall if the man had come to the store before or after the 1989 assassination.

However, he thought it was probably after.

Peter Reid's father, Denis, told the court last week he was "100 per cent" sure David Harold Eastman had come into his shop one day and tried to sell him a Ruger 10/22.

Prosecutors allege Mr Eastman had tried to sell the gun shortly before he used it with a silencer to shoot the Canberra police chief dead in Deakin on January 10, 1989.


Mr Eastman, 72, has pleaded not guilty to murder and is on trial in the Supreme Court

Prosecutors allege the murder weapon was a Ruger 10/22 sold to Mr Eastman by Queanbeyan gun seller Louis Klarenbeek.


The court heard last week Mr Klarenbeek, now deceased, had told police the Ruger was a "bad gun", as he had discovered the sight was out by inches after test firing it in a Captains Flat Road quarry.

Mr Klarenbeek told police he had sold it for $250 with an accompanying "sound reducer".

Prosecutors allege that after he bought the Klarenbeek rifle on January 1, 1989, Mr Eastman tried to sell it to a man named Denis Reid a few days before Mr Winchester's death.

Peter Reid, from the witness stand on Monday, described the man selling the Ruger as having dark hair, glasses, and being "grubby", with dirt or grease on his face.


"To me he looked like a hobby farmer," Mr Reid said.

He said the Ruger had been in below average condition, as though it had not been cleaned or looked after, had no silencer, and he could not remember if it had a scope attached.

The court heard the sale did not go ahead as the barrel had been roughly threaded in order to fit a silencer.

"[It was] no good buying a piece of crap," he said.

Mr Reid told the court he did not see the man leave, but went to a nearby carpark after his father had asked him to follow the seller as he believed he was "suss".

He said he had seen a small, blue sedan leaving the carpark, but did not see the driver.

He said the car had a "tinny sound" as though "it had a problem with the muffler".

"Something didn't sound right," he said.

Mr Reid said he could tell it was a four-cylinder car.

"It was a s---heap. I'm a V8 man," he said.


The prosecution alleges Mr Eastman had the muffler and tailpipe on his metallic blue Mazda replaced in April 1989.

The trial continues.

Michael Inman is a courts reporter for The Canberra Times

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