Wayne De Gruchy presented his son Matthew as a "gentle, loving boy" despite the fact he murdered his own mother, brother and sister.
Slowly it emerged though that De Gruchy, who smoked pot and drank generous amounts of whiskey, fought regularly with his mother over using her car.
No one but Matthew knows whether these were contributing factors to the brutal murders he committed at just 18 years of age.
He has never responded to the accusations. And now, with a high probability he will be released on parole in the next few months, it's unlikely he will ever reveal the truth.
"The circumstances of these crimes were horrific," wrote the High Court judgement knocking back his appeal last appeal.
"The mind recoils from the idea that an apparently quiet, gentle young man of good character and with no known reason for an animus against his family, should brutally slay his mother and young sister and brother."
The highest court in the land could not fathom the evil of the Albion Park Rail man who bludgeoned to death his mother and siblings in 1996.
"There are too many improbabilities in the appellant's account," the High Court ruled, confirming what investigating detectives knew all along.
The attack was so sickening it scarred experienced police who are still haunted by the bloody mess the victims were left in. De Gruchy was just 18 at the time of the murders.
It was Wednesday in March 1996 when De Gruchy ran outside his Shearwater Boulevarde home "in a bad way", frantically calling for help.
His neighbour Steven Bailey got the shock of his life when he entered the De Gruchy home.
Inside, Jennifer, 41, was lying on bloodstained sheets in her bedroom. She had suffered massive head and facial injuries. The coroner required blood-match samples to identify her.
Sarah, 13, was in her bedroom with massive head and facial injuries.
Adrian, 15, was lying in a pool of blood in the garage, his teeth scattered. He had 21 wounds to his face and neck and was doused in petrol.
Mr Bailey, who still lives in the same street, said last year that he hoped the terms of De Gruchy's release, when it happens, will prohibit him from returning to the area.
"I don't think he should be allowed out, in all honesty," Mr Bailey old the Mercury.
"What he did and what I saw - you can't tell me that someone that did what he did, that it's just going to pass and be all over and done with."
Ambulance officers reported a distressed Matthew saying things like "What's happened? Who's done this?"
The thought of this man being released is scary. To do that to your own family for little or no reason, it beggars belief.
He was taken to hospital. He would later tell investigators he had come home to find the horror after spending the night with his girlfriend in Woonona.
In the early days of the investigation everyone was a suspect.
Matthew's father Wayne, in Sydney on the night of the murders, was quickly ruled out.
All evidence was pointing to Matthew. Three months later he was arrested.
Prosecutors would tell the jury in his trial that Matthew had a checklist of how to murder his family.
The note, found with property from the family home, was the strongest piece of evidence in their case.
Pulled from a bag dumped in a dam near his girlfriend's house, the notepad paper secured his guilt.
"Cut somewhere with knife", "hit arm with pole", "have shower", "Sarah, Mum, Adrian", "throw bottle down the back" - it all pointed to a cover-up.
A sheet from an identical pad was later found in Matthew's bedroom.
The bag also contained carpet from Jennifer and Wayne's bedroom, a video recorder, two of Matthew's T-shirts and a Sambuca bottle missing from the home.
Matthew conceded the note was in his handwriting but couldn't recall what it meant.
His best guess was it referred to his 18th birthday plans.
Crown prosecutor, later turned District Court judge, Paul Conlon told the jury there was "not a shred of truth in that". The jury agreed.
De Gruchy always denied killing his family, appealing the verdict until he could appeal no longer. It all stopped with the High Court.
In April 2017 the Mercury revealed De Gruchy had been working at an abattoir in country NSW as he prepares for his permanent release from prison.
Twenty-one years after he slayed three of his four family members at their Albion Park Rail Home, De Gruchy has reinvented himself as a model inmate of Junee Correctional Centre.
In a nod to his youth and perhaps a sign of softer sentencing times, he was sentenced to a maximum 28 years in prison, with a non-parole period of 21 years.
Last week the Serious Offenders Review Council (SORC) advised it was "appropriate" for De Gruchy to be released to parole.
The Parole Authority has also determined that release is "appropriate". The next step is a public hearing in June.
The State of NSW must be given the opportunity to make a submission at the public review hearing and "registered victims" can put submissions forward, either verbally or in writing.
Probation and Parole this week would not confirm if any parties had indicated a willingness, due to privacy reasons.
At the review hearing, De Gruchy will appear via audio visual link. All other parties appear in person.
If the state opposes De Gruchy being released to parole, they will make submissions to the Authority for consideration.
His legal representative also have the opportunity to make their own submission and may call evidence from De Gruchy and Community Corrections.
A State Parole Authority spokeswoman told the Mercury the decision may be revealed on the day of the hearing, however it could be published later.
"In making its decision, the Authority considered the offender's completion of programs and participation in external leave programs, advice from Serious Offenders Review Council that release to parole was appropriate, and advice from Community Corrections that the offender's risk could be appropriately managed in the community," the spokeswoman said.
"More detailed reasons are provided at the review hearing."
Even if he is denied parole come June, De Gruchy's full term expires in June 2024.
The news has angered police close to the case.
One, who didn't want to be named, said: "The thought of this man being released is scary. To do that to your own family for little or no reason, it beggars belief."
And another: "He was small in stature, quiet, but he had this vibe about him. Some silent sort of evil.
"If he gets out I hope someone is watching him, very very closely," said another.