A man whose remains were discovered inside of the home of a deceased Australian hoarder had been fatally shot during a robbery attempt — and his body was left to decompose for 15 years among the piles of detritus that filled the home.
The grisly details were revealed in findings from a May inquest stemming from the 2017 discovery outside of Sydney, according to News.com.au.
Bruce Roberts shot and killed Shane Snellman in 2002 after Snellman broke into his suburban “house of horrors,” the court hearing reportedly disclosed.
The killer even used air freshener to blunt the putrid smell of death.
More than 70 bottles of air freshener were found around Snellman’s mummified corpse, hidden in a bedroom, in a “conscious effort to mask the smell,” Counsel Assisting Tina Xanthos told the Coroner’s Court in Lidcombe.
Roberts rarely left his Greenwich home, which he inherited at a young age, along with $1 million.
In 2017, police forced their way into the debris-ridden domicile to find boxes, paper, bags, newspapers, luggage and rubbish filed from the floor to the ceiling, along with Robert’s body, the article said.
Half of his decomposing corpse was found in the hallway, and the upper potion was in a room slumped over a heater which was turned on and charring his remains, according to reports.
“He was an extreme hoarder, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Senior Constable Spencer reportedly testified.
A year later, cleaners hired to remove hauls of garbage and sanitize the home discovered an unbearable stench emanating from a bedroom, which turned out to be Snellman’s remains. Thirteen firearms were also discovered in the home, according to the report.
Snellman, 39, a purported drug addict and career criminal who had just been released from prison and had $0.66 in the bank, vanished without a trace and uncharacteristically failed to withdraw his unemployment benefits after they had been deposited in 2002, according to The Australian Broadcasting Company.
He was reported missing by a romantic interest, but never found until DNA, tattoo evidence and fingerprints linked him to the mummified body in the Collyer’s Mansion, according to ABC.
Deputy State Coroner Derek Lee concluded Snellman entered the home “by unauthorized entry,” reportedly saying “it is most likely” he broke in to steal property.
Medical examiners reportedly found he had been shot in his neck, chest and stomach and was on amphetamines, including meth, when he was killed.
Impact marks from the bullets were found on the wall and floor, according to the outlet.
Senior Constable Spencer reportedly told the court it was apparent that Roberts gunned down the intruder and kept his body in the home for 15 years.
The court’s conclusions shed some light on the otherwise mysterious existence of the late hoarder, who was thought to be in his 50s or 60s. There are conflicting media reports of Robert’s precise age.
The financially secure man’s Greendale Street home was known as “the creepy house on the corner,” by neighbors who called him “strange” and “uncommunicative,” ABC reports.
Regardless of the season, Roberts always wore a large brown coat on his daily walks to the supermarket or pharmacy.
His fence was lined with barbed wires, and he nailed his windows shut and scattered cans around his overgrown yard.
The cops received calls from neighbors after they noticed the strange man was no longer running his errands or picking up his mail, and from his Uncle John and Aunt Norma Roberts, who never received their annual Christmas card from the recluse, the report said.
Roberts — an unmarried, childless bachelor, who never worked, had no criminal history and didn’t use drugs, according to the article — left John and Norma, along with several charities, his house and $600,000 in cash.
At the non-criminal inquest for Roberts and Snellman, a niece of the homicide victim reportedly remembered her uncle as a kind man.
“He was a very loving man, would do anything for anyone. He didn’t deserve what he got,” Tiana Snellman said, according to News.com.au.
However Snellman’s younger sister Belinda did not agree with the court’s finding that Shane broke into the trash-filled home.
“He never gained forced entry,” she shouted inside the Coroner’s Court, according to ABC.
“He never broke into that home. He already knew him.”