A friend and neighbour of a mother-of-four whose body was left rotting inside a bathtub claims a man visited her home and collected mail in the months after her alleged murder.
Police stumbled upon the corpse of Sarah Gatt, 40, in January after they noticed a foul stench coming from her home in Kensington, in Melbourne’s north-east, while working an unrelated job.
Forensic testing on the badly decomposed body found Ms Gatt – who her family say was living in isolation after turning to drugs – likely died between April 20 and 24 following a violent attack within her home.
Ms Gatt’s next-door neighbour Phil Nelson told The Australian she was a ‘troubled girl’.
Sarah Gatt (pictured), 40, was left rotting inside the bathtub of her Melbourne home for more than eight months after she was bashed and murdered, police say
Police stumbled upon her corpse (pictured) in January after they noticed a foul stench coming from her home in Kensington, in Melbourne’s north-east, while working an unrelated job
Forensic testing on the badly decomposed body found Ms Gatt likely died between April 20 and 24 following a violent attack within her home (pictured)
‘She really was, she got her life together and then things would fall apart,’ he said.
Mr Nelson said the last time he saw Ms Gatt was in December 2016. He said he saw a man collecting the mail and visiting her home from about June last year.
‘They said she died in April. The week before the Christmas just passed – that’s eight months after her being murdered – he and another person were going in and out of that house three times in that week.
‘He told me Sarah had been put away – she’d gone to jail before – and that she was put in for psych reasons and wasn’t expected to come out too soon.’
Investigators believe Ms Gatt’s body was deliberately concealed at the unit and ‘conscious steps’ were taken over the following months to make it look like she was still alive.
Homicide Squad boss Detective Inspector Tim Day wouldn’t draw on speculation that someone pretended to be Ms Gatt after her death, but said a number of ‘stories’ about her were being circulated.
Someone is believed to have been living at the home sporadically while Ms Gatt’s body decomposed in the bath tub, police said.
Police said three men and two women known to Ms Gatt – who were questioned in January – remain persons of interest, although no one has been charged over the death.
On Tuesday, the mother’s family and police launched a public appeal for more information regarding her death, which has been labelled as ‘suspicious’.
Police wouldn’t draw on speculation that someone pretended to be Ms Gatt (pictured) after her death, but said a number of ‘stories’ about her were being circulated
Her father Victor Gatt said she was a good student and aspiring model before she turned to a life of drugs when she was about 17-years-old.
Mr Gatt added that she was a ‘great person’ with no faults until she became mixed in the wrong crowd and began living in isolation from her parents.
‘Nobody knows what went wrong, she just started on drugs,’ he said.
‘We didn’t know about it and I took her to places to try and get her cleaned up but it wouldn’t happen. She kept everything to herself.’
Her father Victor Gatt (pictured with stepmother Cheryl Gatt) said she was a good student and aspiring model before she turned to a life of drugs when she was about 17-years-old
Ms Gatt’s family said they hadn’t seen her in almost 18 months before her unrecognisable body was found.
‘I lost my daughter in that way and I still think I should have went to see her, but when she doesn’t want to see you, she won’t,’ Mr Gatt said.
Detective Inspector Day said the cover up of Ms Gatt’s death is ‘disturbing and concerning’.
He added: ‘There are people out there who know what happened to Sarah and we are urging them to come forward and speak to police.’
Police said Ms Gatt’s four children weren’t living with her at her home.
Homicide Squad boss Detective Inspector Tim Day (pictured), said the cover up of Ms Gatt’s death is ‘disturbing and concerning’