KILLER WHO GAMBLED AND LOST – Friday August 16 2013

– The way Daniel James Grieef told it, the morning his wife was found dead, it must have been a robbery gone wrong.
He told sceptical detectives his wife, Linda, must have been killed by a burglar who’d broken in after he’d left for work.
This story tallied neatly with the fact that the front door lock had been damaged. But it didn’t explain the scratches on Grieef’s face.
At first he said he’d fallen off his bike. Then he switched to the “real story”, saying he got the scratches in bed with Linda two nights earlier.
He claimed he’d left the house between 5:30am and 6am to go swimming before work. But (he said) he hadn’t had enough money to get into the pool and so went straight to the city to work. There he’d had a telephone conversation with his five-year-old son, who told him he could not “wake mummy”. Grieef said he thought something was wrong and rushed home to find his wife dead.
As the police questions grew more persistent, he changed his story, saying he and Linda had come to blows after she told him she didn’t love him anymore. He said she’d fallen off the bed and hit her head and he’d panicked because it looked bad. The police were not convinced. It seemed to them Grieef was a persistent liar but not a good one – a metaphor for the life of a man who wasn’t what he seemed.
They charged him with murder that night.
So what sort of monster batters his wife to death then leaves her body for their tiny children to find while he tries to set up an alibi?
In the case of Daniel Grieef, a good-looking young man – open faced, friendly and fit. When he and his wife, Linda, and their two angelic-looking children posed for a photograph, they looked as wholesome and attractive as if they’d been cast in a television commercial.
When Linda needed the family car, he’d ride his bike from Ferntree Gully to the city. From a distance, he looked the model husband and father. The trouble with Grieef was that behind the white teeth and wide smile was a flawed man struggling to conceal years of systematic embezzlement.
Early one morning, 10 years ago last week, his deceptions turned into a homicide. It was no random timing. It happened the same day he was supposed to produce the money he owed a friend who’d lent him $28,000. The loan had been to repay the company Grieef had left suddenly after a shortfall was found in its books two years before.
Grieef had been forced to repay his former employers $35,000 to square up – all the while insisting it had all been a mistake. The truth is he was lucky the company had chosen to save itself the embarrassment of taking a once-trusted employee to court for stealing its money.
Sometime before dawn on August 6th, 2003, Grieef started arguing with Linda.
They had been married four years but had been together more than 10. He was 30; she was six months younger.
As far as anyone knew, Grieef had never been violent before. But every financial deception was a step closer to being exposed, disgraced – and prosecuted. He’d presented a false front, now it was set to collapse.
Linda had kept up appearances but must have started to question the stream of excuses her parents had already suspected, then detected, in her husband’s smooth, smiling assurances.
Grieef boasted about buying their house at Old Belgrave Road in Upper Ferntree Gully. In fact, his in-laws, Pieter and Annette Van Der Hoek, owned it and rented it to the couple because they didn’t seem to have any money.
Earlier, Grieef has persuaded the Van Der Hoeks to “invest” in a share-trading scheme. As a self-styled financial analyst, he played the stock market on their behalf – and made regular glowing reports about profits in their account. But when his mother-in-law asked him to transfer money into a bank account to earn interest, he made excuses for months until she gave up. Annette suspected her handsome son-in-law was in a financial mess. But she could not have imagined he would kill her daughter and mother of his children. She wonders if her daughter had finally fronted Grieef about the mystery of where their money went.
She and her husband have brought up their grandchildren. The two, now teenagers, live as normally as possible in tragic circumstances. As their grandmother says, “they lost both parents that morning”. She wonders how much they remember of the morning they found “Mummy” bleeding and put on Band-Aids on her body as they waited for “Daddy” to come home.
Grieef was sentenced to seven years for manslaughter in 2005. Prosecutors dropped the murder charge in case he was acquitted. They believed he beat Linda unconscious, then smothered her.
With time already served, Grieef was released in 2010. While in jail he tormented the Van Der Hoeks by mounting court actions for access to the children – effectively to force them to visit him in jail.
He completed a cooking qualification inside and now lives walking distance from Crown casino. Which is ironic, says Annette Van Der Hoek. She believed Grieef had a secret addiction that drove him to steal from his employer, his friends and family – each theft taking him closer to killing Linda.
He was not addicted to drugs but to gambling – Andrew Rule


About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
This entry was posted in Deception, Dishonesty, Domestic Violence, Embezzlement, Homicide, Theft and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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