A deposed bikie boss claims to have been shot in the head by masked men at his home three months before a group disguised the same way shot off part of one of his fingers and set fire to his cars.
Former Canberra Comanchero commander Peter Zdravkovic, 38, is on trial in the ACT Supreme Court after pleading not guilty to the unauthorised possession of a rifle and knuckledusters. The court has heard that police allegedly found the items during a search of Mr Zdravkovic’s property on June 30, 2018, two days after four masked intruders had stormed the south Canberra premises.
CCTV footage of that incident shows Mr Zdravkovic involved in a shootout with the disguised attackers, who are seen to flee after pouring petrol around the Calwell home and setting three cars alight. Mr Zdravkovic, who had run naked from the shower to confront the assailants, took a bullet to his left hand.
On Tuesday, a police officer who was called to the scene after the shootout revealed for the first time that the former bikie boss claimed to have also been shot on an earlier occasion.
Senior Constable Damien Clark, under cross-examination by defence barrister Jason Moffett, told the court Mr Zdravkovic showed him home CCTV footage date-stamped March 17, 2018. Video from that date was played for the jury, and shows masked men moving around outside Mr Zdravkovic’s home as a flurry of embers from a fire falls in front of one of the cameras.
Senior Constable Clark said Mr Zdravkovic told him that the men who came to his house on that occasion had started a blaze and shot at him, hitting him in the head. Mr Zdravkovic also showed him a photo that was said to depict a head injury sustained in this March 2018 incident, the officer told the court.
According to Senior Constable Clark, Mr Zdravkovic claimed people were trying to kill him “just ’cause I left the club”, referring to the Comanchero MC.
The court heard on Tuesday that Mr Zdravkovic was subject to several threats in 2018, amid “a club feud” that had split the gang’s Canberra chapter into two factions. These internal bikie divisions resulted in Mr Zdravkovic leaving the Comanchero MC in February or March of that year, and he received warnings including that a “hit squad” would come to his home.
Leading Senior Constable Dale Ohlmus told the court on Monday that he had visited Mr Zdravkovic three weeks prior to the June 2018 shootout to speak with the accused because police feared he may be the target of an attack. They discussed an article in The Canberra Times about the arrest of then-Comanchero member Alexander Miller, who had been spotted driving past Mr Zdravkovic’s home with a rifle.
Leading Senior Constable Ohlmus said Mr Zdravkovic told him he was not worried about his safety and that if rivals came to his home, they would not leave alive. But Mr Moffett challenged the officer on this issue on Tuesday, suggesting that Mr Zdravkovic had in fact indicated that he was “absolutely petrified”.
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Mr Moffett claimed Mr Zdravkovic had really said that he was concerned not just for his own life, but particularly for the lives of his partner and then-three-year-old son. Leading Senior Constable Ohlmus rejected that suggestion, telling jurors “that was absolutely not the case”.
He agreed he was aware that Mr Zdravkovic had left the Comanchero MC as of February or March 2018. But he denied Mr Moffett’s suggestions that he had specific knowledge in the lead-up to the June 2018 shooting and arson that an attack on Mr Zdravkovic was imminent.
Leading Senior Constable Ohlmus said he had merely suspected, based on ongoing tensions, that something may happen involving people connected with the warring Comanchero factions.
The trial continues.