The new owner of the Mt Eden house where a body was found entombed in concrete says police have known for months the remains belonged to its former owner David Hart.
However police only this morning announced that the human remains found buried at 3 Marlborough St, Mt Eden, were those of David Stanley Hart - and that his death was suspicious.
Hart used to run a boarding house for decades at the inner Auckland property, attracting a rotating group of largely short-term "down on their luck" male tenants.
Property owner Peter Marsden told the Herald today that detectives had told him the bones belonged to Hart "just before the last lockdown".
"They [police] said they had worked out who it was, but that was about two and a half months ago, and I haven't heard anything and then it came out today. But it was him [David Hart]. It's really strange, it was ages ago.
"But they've known for a while who it was. They said they were going to tell me. They were about to make an announcement. Perhaps [because of] what was going on through lockdown they didn't.
"They pretty much just interviewed me at the start. I let them come in and do their thing. I really hadn't heard anything about it. And I was like oh s*** it came out this morning."
Marsden also revealed new details about the circumstances in which Hart's remains had been buried.
The owner, who bought the property in 2017, said the remains were found under the front left bedroom of the house, not in the foundations as initially reported.
"Where his body was found wasn't inside any of the house, it was under the house. What everyone thinks is the body was buried in the concrete of the foundation of the house and it wasn't," Marsden said.
"It was buried on top of dirt and they'd mixed $20 bags of concrete that you'd get from Mitre 10, put it on top of the dirt. "Then they gibbed up the doorthat led to that under-part of the house, and had a bookcase in front of it.
"It's where you would store old wood and stuff you didn't really care about. But is was jam-packed full of stuff."
However, Marsden thinks there wasn't anything particularly suspicious about Hart's death.
"Because they were all sort of mental health sort of guys, recluse sort of dudes [who lived at the boarding house]. There's a breed of them in Mt Eden. And I reckon he died, and they literally just buried him."
Marsden said the renovations at the property were almost complete and he plans to move in soon.
Beneath the house, where Hart's remains were found, is now a renovated bottom level.
But Marsden said they had to have the site blessed by local iwi before workers would return to continue construction. "The police organised a blessing because the workers weren't really keen to get back into it. "I'm pretty close to being able to move in. Me and my family will move in. It feels like a completely different house downstairs, it's all brand new."
Marsden says he is no longer bothered by the human remains being found in his house.
"It's definitely something that concerned me heaps at the time but now as it's gone on it's, like, well, most properties have had someone die in them. Especially when the house is 1910, it's 110 years old.
"What a ride 2020."