Splashes shooting: wife tells of soured friendship

The widow of the man killed in the 2007 Splashes nightclub shooting in North Wollongong has taken the stand at the Sydney trial of his accused killers.

Snezanna Sekuljica sat just metres from the four men on trial for the murder of her husband, Dragan Sekuljica, who was gunned down inside the Wollongong nightclub just before 3am on September 8, 2007.

Fighting back tears, Mrs Sekuljica told the court her husband had once been close friends with the family of one of his alleged killers, Dalibor (Daki) Bubanja.

She said Mr Sekuljica was a godfather to one of Bubanja's siblings, and his brother, Marco, did his apprenticeship with Mr Sekuljica's carpentry business.

The court heard Mr Sekuljica worked for the Bubanjas as a contract carpenter on a block of units they were building in Figtree, some time before 2006.

However, Mrs Sekuljica told the court her husband was owed money by the Bubanjas from the job, and did not receive payment.

She said she recalled an incident at the end of May 2006 when Bubanja, his brother and his father came to the foyer of their Corrimal Street unit block, wanting to talk to Mr Sekuljica, at a time when they were no longer friends.

Mrs Sekuljica said both she and her husband could see the trio and hear what they were saying through the intercom, which had a camera attached to it.

She told the court the Bubanjas repeatedly asked her husband to go outside to meet them during the conversation, which she estimated to have been about two minutes long. She said he did not go outside, and also turned his mobile phone off after the visit.

Mrs Sekuljica is set to continue giving evidence on Monday.

The Crown alleges Daki Bubanja, along with Jason Hristovski and two other men, who can only be referred to as "C" and "M" for legal reasons, had planned to kill Mr Sekuljica, and played different parts in organising and carrying out the crime.

All four men have pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and shooting with intent to murder.

Ballistics expert Timothy Berry told the court that after examining three bullets recovered from Mr Sekuljica's body, and a fourth bullet taken from the arm of Robert Giles, a security guard also shot, he had concluded that the gun used was a .38 special calibre firearm.

The court heard Mr Sekuljica was shot four times - once in the head, twice in the back and once in the right arm above his elbow.

Only three bullets were found lodged in his body; the fourth has not been recovered.

When asked if he could tell by the nature of the wounds how far from Mr Sekuljica the shooter was, Mr Berry said he could not give an exact range, but he said the gunman would have been within a metre when the shot was fired.

Earlier in the trial, jurors heard from Mr Giles, who told the court when the shooter burst into the nightclub wearing a balaclava, he initially thought the person was part of a fancy-dress party.

"Earlier that night, we'd had 20 to 30 people in fancy dress," he said.

"I thought he was part of that crowd; I thought it was a prank he was playing."

However, Mr Giles said as he grabbed the gunman, he heard a crack, which he thought was fireworks exploding, and immediately felt pain in his arm.

"I heard a couple more cracks, I still thought they were fireworks," he said, adding the gunman had run into the bar area of the nightclub.

"As the person ran out, I was going to tackle him into the wall. As I ran towards him, he then produced a gun. I put my hand up [and] he was gone, he took off."

The trial continues.

Flowers line the steps outside Splashes Nightclub where Dragan Sekuljica was shot dead.

Flowers line the steps outside Splashes Nightclub where Dragan Sekuljica was shot dead.