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Sad life of man whose mummified body was found six years after death

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THE man whose mummified body was found rolled up in carpet after dying six years ago in a hoarder’s house led a sad life in and out of prison.

Shane John Snellman, who today would be 55 years old, had four younger sisters but had been a ward of the state since the age of eight.

Police calculate he suffered significant trauma and numerous injuries, including a possible gunshot wound in about 2012, before cleaners found his badly decomposed body last week.

It appears that before he was somehow in the Greenwich house of hoarder Bruce Roberts on Sydney’s lower North shore, Snellman had been estranged from his family for 10 years.

Described by his father as rebellious but “a good boy”, Shane had been convicted of theft, break and enter, drug supply, malicious injury and possessing firearms.

He had served time in prison and had and had an impulsive nature that saw him come to the attention of police.

One of his sisters, Tracy Lee Snellman Trudgett told The Australian that when she first saw a TV report of a mystery man’s remains found, she had thought how “sad, that’s someone’s brother or husband”.

But last Friday night, homicide detectives knocked on Ms Trudgett’s door and asked if she had a brother named Shane John Snellman.

Ms Trudgett agreed that was her only brother, “screamed and fell to the floor” and is “still in shock”.

NSW homicide detectives are treating Mr Snellman’s death as suspicious.

Bruce Roberts died of an apparent heart attack last year inside the house which was stuffed with hoarded goods, and only attended to for clearing last week.

Shane Snellman’s father John told The Australian that he had placed his only son and eldest daughter Belinda in a Catholic convent in 1970 after his own father died from cancer.

When he went to retrieve them a few weeks later, he “couldn’t get them out” of the welfare system because as a working man he had no-one to mind them.

Shane stayed at the convent until he was fostered out to local families.

Once an adult, he occasionally had jobs but “would get the wanders”, John Snellman said.

In about 2003, John Snellman tried unsuccessfully to track down his son through the NSW prison system.

Tracy Trudgett said she had last seen her brother on a prison visit ten years ago, but that he had “never been forgotten”.

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