WELLINGTON, Central West, NSW, Australia - A man was expected to appear in court on Thursday in relation to the shooting death of a man in the New South Wales Central West last year.
On Monday 27 April 2020, a man was found with a gunshot wound to his abdomen. He was taken by a neighbour to Wellington Base Hospital. Despite the efforts of hospital staff, the man was unable to be revived.
The man was formally identified as 48-year-old Wellington resident, Frank Smith (pictured), a popular local man who had played rugby league for Wellington and worked as a handyman.
Initial inquiries were conducted by officers from Orana Mid-Western Police District before detectives from the State Crime Command's Homicide Squad took carriage of the investigation under Strike Force Libani.
Earlier this year, investigators say they recovered a firearm linked to the murder of Frank Smith which subsequently underwent forensic and ballistic examination.
Following extensive inquiries and public appeals for information, detectives arrested a 31-year-old man in Wellington about 11am on Wednesday.
Shortly after the arrest, strike force detectives executed a crime scene warrant at a nearby property, where they seized electronics and other items of interest, which will undergo forensic examination.
The man was taken to Wellington Police Station, where he was charged with murder.
He was refused bail ahead of his scheduled court appearance at Dubbo Local on Thursday.
"During the last 18 months police have forensically examined numerous items including the firearm used in this murder which enabled us to reach this point," the Homicide Squad's Detective Inspector Virginia Gorman said Thursday.
"I would like to thank the Wellington community for their assistance throughout this investigation. Their information led investigators to establish some strong lines of inquiry that police continue to follow."
"I'm hopeful today brings some comfort to those who knew and loved Frank, however, our investigations into this shooting are ongoing and I urge anyone with information to come forward," Det Insp Gorman said.