The man charged with tagging on Scott Guy's house was taken under the wing of murder accused Ewan Macdonald as a teenager and the pair became close friends.
Police last night refused to be drawn on what – if any – part the 21-year-old man played in Friday's court appearance of Guy's brother-in-law. A day earlier he was granted name suppression when he appeared in the Queenstown District Court on six criminal damage and arson charges, one related to insults tagged on Guy's farmhouse 18 months before the shooting.
Macdonald and the man have been close friends for many years, and often tramped together. He visited the Guy property frequently to see Macdonald.
The man, who was with his girlfriend yesterday, had nothing to say other than "no comment", and for a time the pair sought refuge at the police station.
His parents died when he was young, his mother of cancer and his father in a motor accident. The man was in the truck cab in the crash and suffered minor brain damage, his grandfather said. He was "a good kid who has had a rough life".
"He's big enough to know better, but he can be a bit impulsive, but for God's sake, he hasn't burnt anyone," the grandfather said.
Friends close to the man said police met him more than a week ago in Queenstown, and when they asked what the police wanted, he told them it was because he knew a man who had been killed.
A flatmate of the man said he was "placid as" and someone who "wouldn't harm anyone".
The head tenant at the man's flat said she had never noticed her flatmate behave strangely and she would continue to allow him to rent at the home.
In January 2009, $13,800 worth of damage was caused to the Guys' house with spraypaint, including the phrase "Bitch Slappr". Police believe the man is responsible.
When police released images of the graffiti earlier this year they held back one other image, saying secrecy was necessary for "investigate reasons".
Inquiry head Detective Inspector Sue Schwalger last night declined to say what the mystery tag said, but earlier this year she told media the words painted on the farmhouse were unlikely to be aimed at the Guys.
"Extensive inquiries have been made and we have found nothing in the lives of Scott, Kylee or any previous occupants to indicate the words were aimed at them," she said.
- Sunday Star Times