Detectives and forensic police attend the home of Sarah Gatt in Kensington. Picture: Aaron Francis
Detectives and forensic police attend the home of Sarah Gatt in Kensington. Picture: Aaron Francis

Police close in on bathtub killer

THE twists and turns in the investigation into who killed Kensington mum Sarah Gatt continued on Friday when police backflipped on an earlier theory.

Ms Gatt's decomposing body was found in the bathtub of her inner-Melbourne flat on January 3 this year, but it's believed the 40-year-old was murdered eight months earlier.

Police say she was "kept alive" since April the previous year and that the person responsible intentionally deceived those close to her, including her next door neighbour.

Originally, Homicide Squad detectives arrested a number of men and women in connection to the grisly murder. They were all released and questioned.

On Friday, they revealed that just one person was responsible for killing Sarah during a "prolonged violent assault that took place within the premises" but that others "concealed" the body and took "conscious steps to imply she was still alive after her death".

Melbourne woman Sarah Gatt was found dead in her bathtub on January 3.
Melbourne woman Sarah Gatt was found dead in her bathtub on January 3.

Police also rejected the theory that Ms Gatt - a known drug user - had been decapitated, but they did say she suffered trauma to her head and face and that the trauma is believed to be related to her death.

Forensic police returned to the Lambeth Street housing commission flat in March to undertake further forensic tests. They are still awaiting the results of those tests.

Police found Ms Gatt's body after being called to her home just after New Years on an unrelated matter. They could smell her before they entered the premises.

Inside they found her body "hidden" in the bathtub. A wheelie bin was found nearby that police believe the killer was planning on using to dispose of her body.

Following a short investigation, detectives revealed a "disturbing twist".

Forensic detectives leave Sarah Gatt's home.
Forensic detectives leave Sarah Gatt's home.

Detective Inspector Tim Day said "certain actions by certain people" led police to believe she was "kept alive" for eight months.

"There are certain things I need to keep to myself, but I can say and reaffirm that police believe that both the death itself was covered up and that there was an implication that she was still alive after April 20 last year," Det Insp Day said.

When asked if anybody else was living in the home at the time her body was discovered, Det Insp Day said "on and off".

Insp Day said there are people out there who "know what happened and we are urging them to come forward". It's a message shared by Ms Gatt's grieving family who told reporters they hadn't spoken with their daughter in 18 months.

Police say people deliberately concealed Ms Gatt’s death for eight months. Picture: Aaron Francis
Police say people deliberately concealed Ms Gatt’s death for eight months. Picture: Aaron Francis

"She was a great person. I couldn't fault her at all, she was great. Then she went down the wrong path," Ms Gatt's father said.

"I tried (to bring her back) and she didn't want to do it. I lost contact with her about 18 months ago because she didn't want to see me. Whatever I said, she just didn't want to do it."

Ms Gatt's mother said her daughter had four children "aged seven to 18" but "kept everything to herself". She said she started using drugs as a teenager and her life spiralled from there.

"She had a lot of big dreams which, to be honest, I knew would never really happen but she had good intentions," she said.

"No one deserves to die like that. It doesn't matter what happened, she doesn't deserve to die like that."

Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.

Email: rohan.smith1@news.com.au | Twitter: @ro_smith



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