David Monlun’s death: ‘I blame Sarah’, business partner tells court

David Luc Monlun, who was found dead in his harbour-side apartment on May 30, 2011. Photo: Supplied Sarah Manning, who had a child with David Monlun, at Glebe Coroner’s Court. Photo: Jacky Ghossein

When David Monlun and Sarah Manning first got together, his self-confidence lifted and he was “happy again”.

But that all changed in the ensuing years, before Mr Monlun died on May 30, 2011, an inquest has heard.

Mr Monlun’s business partner, Raymond Harrison, recalled Ms Manning ringing him the day after the death to ask about the 40-year-old, French-born businessman’s will.

Asked how he felt at the time, Mr Harrison said: “I was angry. I blame Sarah for what happened to David.”

The inquest at Glebe coroner’s court has been told Mr Monlun and Ms Manning had a “highly volatile, intermittent relationship”, which was “highly sexual” and involved the regular use of drugs, including GHB.

At one point a man named Matthew Haar, Ms Manning’s former partner falsely described as her brother, moved in with the couple. In 2006 Mr Haar kidnapped Mr Monlun at knife-point and forced him to take cocaine.

A fortnight later Mr Haar, Ms Manning and another woman kidnapped Mr Monlun and forced him to sign over property, including a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. The trio were convicted of various assault and kidnapping offences, the inquest was told.

Five years later, after Mr Monlun and Ms Manning reunited, she and a GHB user, Jamie Philp, visited Mr Monlun’s apartment on May 29.

CCTV inside the unit recorded all three handling bottles containing clear liquid and pouring it into a cup, consistent with the preparation of GHB.

When Ms Manning left in the early hours of the morning, Mr Monlun was seen to drop a phone and become unsteady on his feet before he moved to his bedroom.

He was found dead about 7am. A post-mortem found that drug overdose was the most likely cause of death, with the level of GHB in his system well within the lethal range.

Mr Harrison told the inquest Mr Monlun had installed a safe in his bedroom about two or three weeks prior to his death, a move he said was to keep documents safe.

Police and crime scene officers found a large amount of drugs in the safe, the inquest has heard.

Mr Harrison said Mr Monlun flew to New Zealand every three or four months to withdraw between $200,000 and $300,000 from the Kiwi branch of their freight business in order to pay Australian costs.

Sometimes he would keep some of that money for personal use, which would be registered in his director’s loan account, Mr Harrison said.

Though deputy state coroner Sharon Freund said it seemed an “ad hoc” financial arrangement, Mr Harrison said Mr Monlun was a good businessman.

“David was a loveable rogue. You … could never stay angry with him. He was fundamentally a good person who I think lost his way near the end of his life.

“He was a good family man. All of his employees were absolutely loyal and still love him to this day.”

The inquest continues.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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