DNA of a man accused of placing a parcel bomb addressed to Sydney Penthouse Pet Simone Cheung 19 years ago was on postage stamps found on the paper wrapping used to conceal the bomb, a court was told today.
Former TV host Roberto Saenz de Heredia, 47, appeared in Downing District court today charged with grievous bodily harm with intent to murder Brett Boyd, the boyfriend of Simone Cheung, who picked up the parcel bomb left at his Belrose home in 1998.
It was also alleged he confessed to a friend to putting the bomb at the home and even wrote a confession letter to a police officer saying he was sorry for what he had done.
The bomb exploded, and Mr Boyd lost his left eye and right thumb and suffered facial scars and partial deafness.
Mr de Heredia has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
In the opening day of the trial, the court heard Mr de Heredia was originally charged with attempting to kill his friend 17 years ago but left the country on someone else’s passport before he faced trial.
Police arrested the former Fox presenter in London last year week after a 17-year police hunt.
“I put a bomb at Brett’s place. I don’t know why I did it. I’ve lost my head,’’ de Heredia is alleged to have told his friend, Leroy Stolzenhein, at a McDonald’s carpark after the bombing.
Crown prosecutor Virginia Lydiard told the jury in her opening address that both Mr Boyd and Mr Stolzenhein, who were friends of the accused, are both dead, but had given evidence at the committal proceedings in Manly court in 1999.
The motive was that Boyd owed de Heredia a large sum of money.
“Some were new,’’ she said referring to stamps found on the parcel.
“At least three were used.’’
The court was told DNA on some of the postage stamps had the same profile as the accused.
Ms Lydiard also said a partial fingerprint was found on a piece of latex rubber glove at the scene and police had recovered writing on the package that was not destroyed in the explosion.
She also said Mr de Heredia had attempted to take his own life in 1999 and had left notes recovered from his computer written to his family and Detective Ray Peattie, who was investigating the case.
“I’ve been sitting here for quite some time thinking about the questions you asked … I asked him (Leroy) to ring Brett to see where he was … in case there was enough time to reverse my decision … unfortunately there was not,’’ the note allegedly said.
He also wrote that he didn’t want Mr Stolzenhein blamed for what he had done and was sorry Brett would have suffered.
The court heard after his arrest in 1999, Mr de Heredia was shot once, and later his alleged victim, Brett Boyd, was found with a machine gun outside a police station where Heredia was to report for bail.
Ms Lydiard said besides the physical evidence, there were three indicators of consciousness of guilt — Mr de Heredia attempted suicide, had written the letters to his family and police, and then left Sydney before the trial in 1999.
Paul Rosser, QC, appearing for de Heredia, said his client denied any involvement in the bomb and in fact was being set up by Leroy Stolzenhein, who Boyd also owed money.
“Mr de Heredia says that he had nothing to do with that bombing,” Mr Rosser said.
“And he says that someone had gone to a great deal of trouble to make it appear like he did — and that someone is Stolzenhein.”
He said Mr de Heredia left the country after he had been shot by an unknown gunman and Boyd had been found waiting for him outside a police station with a machine gun.
“Some of the evidence is just too good to be true,’’ Mr Rosser said.
“Why would you put new stamps on a parcel bomb?” he asked.
“Was it the purpose of putting DNA on the parcel?’’
“Some of the stamps come from Melbourne — who has a connection to Melbourne?’’ he asked, promising he would reveal details during the course of the trial.
He also said the letter of confession written on a computer left Leroy Stolzenhein out of any involvement in the bombing.
“You’ll consider the extent to which that letter seeks to exonerate Stolzenhein.”
De Heredia, a former Foxtel Television Shopping Network presenter, was arrested at London’s Gatwick Airport on April 27 last year.