A former television shopping presenter accused of sending a parcel bomb to a friend almost 20 years ago has denied having anything to do with the bomb.
Roberto de Heredia, 47, has begun giving evidence at his attempted murder trial.
He is accused of addressing and sending the parcel bomb to bikini model and escort Simone Cheung in June 1998, but her boyfriend Brett Boyd opened it when he picked it up from the driveway of his Northern Beaches home.
Mr Boyd, who was a model and fitness trainer, lost an eye and a thumb in the subsequent explosion.
Defence barrister Paul Rosser QC asked his client whether he had anything to do with the bomb, to which de Heredia responded, “no I didn’t, absolutely not”.
“Do you know how your DNA got on the stamps?” Mr Rosser asked.
“No,” de Heredia replied.
“Do you have a belief?” Mr Rosser continued.
His client replied, “yes, I do” but did not elaborate.
De Heredia was arrested in September 1998 and kept in custody for six months during committal proceedings.
He was committed to stand trial in April 1999, then released on bail.
The following day Mr Boyd was arrested with guns and ammunition near Randwick Police Station, where de Heredia was due to report for bail.
Witness protection wouldn’t keep me safe: de Heredia
Before his attempted murder trial could begin, de Heredia left Australia on a friend’s passport because he said he thought he was in danger.
“I had been threatened by Brett,” de Heredia said.
“Why were you scared?” Crown prosecutor Virginia Lydiard asked.
“You didn’t know Brett Boyd, Brett Boyd had a lot of contacts shall we say, Brett Boyd worked for (Kings Cross nightclub identity) John Ibrahim,” de Heredia replied.
Mr Ibrahim is not accused of having anything to do with the explosion or of threatening de Heredia.
The former Foxtel presenter told the court even though police had offered him witness protection he did not trust them when they said they would keep him safe, so he decided to leave the country.
“I knew that I wasn’t going to get any protection from the police, I had to go,” he said.
“My bail conditions were not publicly known, so however Brett got those bail conditions it wasn’t because of anything else but police.
“I borrowed my friend’s passport, yes.”
Ms Lydiard suggested the accused fled the country because of his upcoming trial, not because he was scared.
De Heredia denied this.
He flew to Bali then Spain, but was arrested in London last year and extradited back to Australia.
Mr Boyd took his own life in 2008, a decade after the explosion.