Hamilton police say the crown attorney has withdrawn first degree murder charges in connection with the killing of 73-year-old Audrey Gleave due to a lack of evidence.

Fifty-year-old David Laurie Scott of no fixed address was arrested on Feb. 10 in the case. He had reportedly been living in a barn down the street from Gleave's home.

According to police, a review of forensic evidence led to the charges being dropped, and Scott was released from custody on Friday.

Defence attorney Charles Spettigue says "Hamilton Police Services wanted to get a quick answer to appease the folks of Ancaster…so there was a quick rush to judgement, and they grabbed the first person who was kind of different and unique."

Gleave, a retired teacher who lived alone, was found murdered at her home on Indian Trail Road outside of Ancaster on Dec. 30.

She had been beaten, stabbed several times and sexually assaulted in a crime that has been described by police as ‘savage.'

Police continue to investigate Gleave's death, and anyone with information is asked to contact police at 905-546-4067 or 905-546-4129 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-522-8477.

They are also asking area residents to be cautious and are stepping up patrols in the area.