‘Let me in, I’ve killed someone’
When Vanessa Strong's boyfriend Shayne Greenfield knocked on the door of her home in the state's central west she recalled his panicked voice saying, "Let me in. I've killed someone".
After letting him into her South Bathurst home she says Greenfield made a beeline for the bathroom where he poured bleach over his clothes, a set of bolt cutters and a "Rambo" style knife with a wooden handle.
She also recalls getting into a heated row with him a short time later and at one point he said, "I'll put you under the bridge like the other bloke".
About the same time this was happening, police were setting up a crime scene underneath Bathurst's Denison Bridge where the body of homeless pensioner Reginald "Reg" Mullaly had just been found.
It was September 20, 2015 and the 72-year-old former abattoir worker had been stabbed 11 times in his makeshift home underneath the heritage-listed bridge which crosses the Macquarie River.
Reg, a father-of-two, had died from a stab wound to his heart.
He was found clenching a bloodstained paper serviette with his head resting on a pillow and his legs covered with a purple blanket. Not far away was his green shoulder bag, three cans of Toohey's New and some chocolate and cheese.
Police have always suspected a group of local ice addicts - who frequented a nearby drug house -were involved, but a lack of DNA evidence and a cone of silence meant proof was hard to come by.
But this week police got one step closer to making arrests after a new witness gave never-before-heard evidence during a four-day inquest examining Reg's death at Orange courthouse.
On Thursday Deputy Coroner Elizabeth Ryan sensationally suspended the inquest after finding there may be sufficient evidence for murder charges to be laid against "two people of sufficient interest".
The matter has been referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions to see whether charges should be laid against Ms Strong's ex boyfriend Shayne Greenfield and his drug buddy Shayne Miller.
Ms Ryan stopped the inquest after the court heard from a man called Steve Miranda, who told the court he remembered Greenfield and Miller leaving a house in the suburb of Kelso wearing balaclavas and gloves in the period leading up to the discovery of Reg's body.
He told the court he recalled the pair saying they were "going for an earn".
It was well known to many locals that Reg would catch a taxi into town about three times a week and withdraw between $400-$500 from the Bathurst Reliance Credit Union. He got a regular pension and savings $32,000, which he had inherited from his mother.
This week Reg's family were seated in the front row of the court when Mr Miranda recalled Greenfield returning to the Kelso house - where a lot of ice addicts frequented- in an agitated state on September 20, 2015.
Mr Miranda said he recalled Greenfield saying, "The cops are going to want to speak to me over a murder under the bridge."
This was at a time where police had not released any information about Reg's death being suspicious.
Mr Miranda's evidence was the breakthrough dogged Bathurst Detective Senior Constable Adrian Graham had been waiting for.
In his statement tendered to the court Sen Con Graham states he believed Greenfield and Miller were involved in Reg's murder.
"I believe that Stephen Greenfield was at least present at the murder of Mullaly. I believe he is obsessed with knives and carries them always, I believe he would have cleaned himself after the murder but once the body was discovered on, he panicked and attended his ex-defacto's house to wash himself in bleach," he said.
"The fact Miller referred to Mullaly being stabbed or shot in an interview on 22 September 2015, prior to the information being released publicly, would lead to the conclusion Miller was either present at the time of Mullaly's death or he participated in it.
Miller and Greenfield have denied any involvement in Reg's death and both were present in court during this week's inquest.
One of Reg's four sisters said she hoped charges would be laid soon and was grateful the inquest had humanised her brother.
"He didn't deserve to be called the man under the bridge - his name is Reg Mullaly."
"Reg had many opportunities of where to live but he was happiest when he was free," she told The Daily Telegraph.
She said her brother was a jack of all trades who had been a shearer, abattoir worker, painter but said it was alcohol that became his main focus in later life, especially after the death his close friend and business partner died from a heart attack.
Reg grew up on a property at Newbridge about 30 kilometres from Bathurst and often spent his money on pies at a bakery, beers at the pub and loaves of bread which he fed to the ducks on the Macquarie River.
He is survived by his two children, four sisters and several grandchildren.