These first pictures show Queenstowner Stephen Royds back at his elderly parents’ house – after returning from the United States where he preserved his dead girlfriend on ice for a year.
Drug-convict Royds, 48, who’s been away from the resort for almost 30 years, says returning to Queenstown is like landing on another planet.
“It’s like Mars,” he says, while pottering in the Queenstown Hill garage yesterday morning.
Royds was sorting his belongings, including
a muddle of shoes, clothing and plastic-wrapped shirts.
Sporting his familiar shock of white hair now pulled into a small ponytail, he wasn’t prepared to chat about his colourful past.
“I’ve got quite a story to tell but I’m not ready to tell it yet,” Royds says, with a relaxed smile.
His return comes after his release from a California prison where he served half of a four-year sentence for drug convictions.
Prior to his arrest, Royds was reportedly enjoying a high-flying lifestyle of limousines, flash clothes and residence at a $300-a-night Newport Beach hotel.
Police found 54 grams of cocaine in his room during a March 2008 raid – and the frozen body of Monique Trepp preserved with dry ice in a box.
Royds pleaded guilty to two drugs charges but wasn’t charged with failing to report her death. Trepp, 33, had died from a cocaine and alcohol overdose.
Last week Royds’ mother Sally – married to former Queenstown deputy mayor John Royds – told Mountain Scene her son was looking forward to getting home.