Men face trial over shooting murder of golf club owner

Rex Martinich |

Two men have been ordered to stand trial for the murder of a golf course owner who died after a shotgun blast tore off pieces of his body.

Greg Harding, 64, was found dead at Craignish Country Club on Queensland’s Fraser Coast the day after he suffered a fatal gunshot to the leg on August 15, 2021.

Joshua Marcus Pope, then aged 30, and Gregory Tremayne Pryor, then 25, were arrested a week later.

They faced Brisbane Magistrates Court for a committal hearing on Monday.

Forensic pathologist Li Ma, who performed a post-mortem on Mr Harding, testified that he had a “large irregular gaping wound … a large area of destruction” from shotgun pellets on his right calf.

Pope’s barrister Angus Edwards asked if there had been “a shotgun blast to the back of the calf, tearing off a big chunk of flesh and skin”.

“More than that. Fracturing of bone and destruction of soft tissue,” Dr Ma said.

Dr Ma agreed she could not determine how many shotgun pellets had struck Mr Harding as a large part of his calf had been torn off.

She said a laceration found on the top of Mr Harding’s head would have occurred no more than 24 hours before his death due to a lack of healing.

Under cross-examination, Dr Ma said Mr Harding’s injuries, including bruises and a fractured vertebra, could have been caused by either blunt force trauma or a fall.

Police ballistics expert Sergeant Michael Clark testified the shotgun would likely have been between one and 2.5 metres away from Mr Harding when it was fired.

Sgt Clark said he could not be precise without testing the firearm and ammunition involved but a plastic wad component of a shotgun shell was found inside Mr Harding’s gunshot wound, indicating a maximum range.

Both Pope and Pryor were also committed to stand trial for allegedly stealing money and a hard drive from Mr Harding as well as several counts of break-ins, motor vehicle thefts, stealing registration plates, handling stolen property and stealing from a Cotton On shop.

Pope and Pryor allegedly committed numerous offences on the Sunshine Coast and Hervey Bay in the days leading up to the alleged murder.

Ashton Taylor McKinley, then aged 24, was also charged in September 2021 with Mr Harding’s murder.

McKinley was in March committed to stand trial for murder as well as four counts of break-ins, two counts of motor vehicle theft and two counts of stealing.

All three defendants are due to face trial at Brisbane Supreme Court at a date to be set. 

Pope and Pryor’s barristers did not apply for bail and the defendants were returned to custody.

Both defendants declined to say anything to Magistrate Ross Mack after he committed them to stand trial.

Against the glass partition between them, Pryor gestured a fist bump to Pope who pointed to his heart and then his supporters in court.