Peter Milos with celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay (inset) and the scene of his death.
Peter Milos with celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay (inset) and the scene of his death. Kristian Silva

Murder accused says someone else killed Coast chef

THE man charged with the murder of Peter Milos has told a jury the high-profile chef was already dead when he arrived at his alleged victim's house.

Giving evidence at his trial on Friday, James Thomas Howell claimed he was shocked to find his "friend" Mr Milos, who had recently moved to Brisbane from Maroochydore to further his cooking career, face down and bloodied in the garage of the Morningside address in May, 2014.

On that day, Mr Howell said, he had been drinking alcohol outside a nearby takeaway store and waiting for the all clear from Mr Milos who apparently liked his drug customers to visit one at a time.

He said he had grown tired of waiting when he walked around the back of the home and called out "It's just me Pete" before being confronted by the "horrific" scene.

He claimed he crouched down beside Mr Milos, grabbed his leg and "shook him really hard" but there was no response.

Allegedly fearing the "attacker" was still close, Mr Howell fled, went back to the takeaway store to buy food for a friend who was due to visit his house that afternoon and stopped at the bottle shop to buy alcohol and soft-drink and caught a taxi back to his home.

Defence barrister Jeffrey Hunter QC, asked his client to explain why he had not phoned police.

Mr Howell replied that he was "scared" and did not want "whoever had done it" to think he was helping with the murder investigation.

He went further to say he felt like a "coward" for not speaking up about the death of Mr Milos who he described as "a good man with a good heart...who would put his family and friends above anything else."

Police allege Mr Milos was beaten to death with building tools, possibly over a large sum of cash he had at his home.

Under cross-examination by Crown Prosecutor Glenn Cash, Mr Howell agreed he had deliberately continued to send messages to Mr Milos' phone, even after he knew he was dead, to throw police "off the scent".

He said he did so because he did not want police to think it was "strange" he had not called or text Mr Milos when phone records would show they spoke most days and the sudden lack of contact would cause officers to suspect him as the killer.

Asked whether it was "surprising" he was able to afford luxuries like alcohol, clothes, drugs and a $100 loan to a friend if, as he had told the court, his "work had dried up" and he was living "week to week", Mr Howell replied "no".

Several members of Mr Milos's family, including his mother and siblings, are in court for the trial which will continue before Justice Martin Daubney next week


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