It was a country soap opera with a grisly conclusion — a man widely despised by the tiny town in which he lived found beaten to death, his killers gone without a trace.
But today, police believe they have a breakthrough in the five-year investigation, charging a man with murder over the brutal bashing death of Scott Hammond.
Mr Hammond was found dead in his Tahmoor home, about 100 kilometres south west of Sydney, on July 1 2013.
The 48-year-old’s head had been bashed viciously and repeatedly, his pit bull was also injured and remained in the house.
Mr Hammond’s demise came as no surprise to his neighbours, who at the time described him as “not very nice at all” and a known drug dealer.
At the time, police said they had a long list of suspects in the town of about 5,000 people.
Police made a grim discovery when they arrived at Scott Hammond’s house on July 1, 2013. (ABC News)
New South Wales Police arrested a 47-year-old man over the death during raids at Heckenberg, a suburb in western Sydney, this morning.
He has been charged with one count of murder, and has been refused bail to appear at Campbelltown Local Court this afternoon.
‘Not very nice at all’
The year before his death, Mr Hammond was fined for setting his pit bull on several locals.
“Scott used to have dogs sitting up the front and my kids would ride their bikes past and he would actually skitch the dogs onto my kids,” said one resident who did not want to be named.
“My kids were too afraid to ride past his house, they would ride around the long way around the block just to avoid Scott’s house.”
He had lived in the town for decades and had a bad reputation.
Neighbours said Mr Hammond’s house was often targeted by people, who broke his windows and threw Molotov cocktails at it.
“It [his death] took longer than what we thought,” one Tahmoor resident said in 2013.
“We thought it would happen a lot sooner because he’s not very nice at all.”
Another resident, who lived opposite Mr Hammond and did not want to be named, said the arrest came as a relief.
“I’m so glad that someone has been finally caught after all these years,” they said.
Camden Police Area Commander Detective Superintendent Ward Hanson said today’s result was a tribute to the hard work and tenacity of the investigative team.
“Many of the investigative team on the strike force have been on this case since day one,” Detective Superintendent Hanson said.
“Today’s result came about through persistence, old fashioned policing and tugging on coats.
“At the time of Scott’s death his mother Josie said his family hoped there will eventually be a close to an incredibly sad chapter in their family history.
“Unfortunately, Josie passed before this day could arrive.”