Police informer Terence Hodson thought he would be safer in his Melbourne home than in witness protection, despite being told he risked being ambushed in the room where he and his wife were found dead.
Mr Hodson and his wife, Christine, were found murdered in the back room of their Kew home in May 2004, before Mr Hodson was due to give evidence against two detectives in a criminal trial.
An inquest into their deaths on Friday heard Mr Hodson had received a phone call implying he should keep his mouth shut.
Mr Hodson, a long-time police informer, was to be the key witness over the burglary of a drug stash allegedly involving him and drug squad members Paul Dale and David Miechel.
Former Ethical Standards Department detective Murray Gregor said he had made a number of offers for Mr Hodson and his family to join the witness protection program, but Mr Hodson declined, saying he felt safe in his own home.
However, Mr Gregor said Mr Hodson had told him he expected “something to happen” and he was afraid of Mr Dale and Miechel.
Mr Gregor said he advised Mr Dale that his home’s rear room was not safe because it was isolated from the rest of the house.
He told the Victorian Coroners Court he feared Mr Hodson was at risk of ambush in the back room.
“I believe that if he kept out of that separate room, in all likelihood he and his wife would still be alive today,” Mr Gregor said.
Mr Gregor said Mr Hodson received a phone call in late 2003 in which someone told him: “Stick together. There’s no need to go on board with anyone.”
Mr Gregor, who investigated the burglary, said there was a message behind the phone call.
“My interpretation of that message was very clear: for Hodson to keep his mouth shut and not go against Dale and Miechel,” he said.
Under cross-examination from Mr Dale’s barrister, Geoffrey Steward, Mr Gregor agreed that Mr Hodson had said he had not felt threatened by the call.
Mr Gregor also agreed there was no evidence about who had made the call.
Former homicide squad detective Cameron Davey said that during the investigation of the couple’s murders, police found that Mr Hodson’s informer reports had been given to a career criminal in Queensland.
Mr Dale and contract killer Rodney Charles Collins were charged over the Hodsons’ murders in 2009, but the charges were withdrawn the following year after gangland figure Carl Williams was killed in prison.
Collins and Mr Dale deny any involvement.
In 2006, Miechel was found guilty of his part in the burglary and jailed for at least 12 years.
The burglary charges against Mr Dale were withdrawn.