Greek Consul in Sydney early 1980s
MARK LANGLEY murdered in Adelaide 28 February 1982 (report in Australian 4 May 1982)
"Mr Langley's mutilated and decomposed body was discovered in the Adelaide Hills eight days after he vanished from near the River Torrens on February 28 (1982). His body had severe anal wounds and a crude incision had been made in his abdomen and covered with adhesive bandage."
16 JUNE 1985
The following gay hate crimes were found in our archival papers and are relevant to ongoing reopened hate crimes committed in Sydney during the 1980s and 1990s.
The trial of four men arrested and charged with a “gay-bashing” murder 18 months ago had to recommence, after the initial trial was aborted.
SYDNEY – The trial of four men charged with the Oxford Street murder of Michael Stevens is proceeding in the NSW Supreme Court at Darlinghurst before Mr Justice Finlay and a jury of 12. Stevens, a professional dancer, 22, and two friends were attacked at about 3.30am on Sunday 16 June 1985 shortly after leaving the Handlebar, then a gay restaurant/bar. Stevens was kicked unconscious and remained in a coma until he died from extensive head injuries on 23 June in St Vincent’s Hospital.
The murder was one impetus for holding the first NSW police-gay hotline aimed at getting information about and combating anti-gay violence. Both police officers investigating Steven’s murder and the Police-Gay Liaison Group believed that providing the opportunity for people to phone in, (anonymously if they desired) could open up additional sources of information. The police were however able to make arrests before the hotline was held.
Evan Willie Tietie, 18, of Canterbury, Poasa Cagidonu Bolamatu, 17, of Liverpool, Atu Tulele, 17, of Annandale and Gordon Richard Holmes, 16, of North Homebush have all pleaded not guilty to the charge of murdering Stevens and Tietie, Tulele and Holmes have pleaded not guilty to Assaulting Stevens with the intention of robbing him.
An earlier trial was aborted two days after it commenced, when a woman juror asked a police officer for directions into the court. The incident was reported to the Crown Prosecutor, Barry Newman QC, who then said it was his duty to draw it to the attention of the judge. Justice Finley said the regulations left him no course other than to stop the trial and discharge the jury.
Four Made Admissions
In his opening address to this initial trial, Newman outlined the circumstances of Stevens’ death and said that, as a result of intense investigations, the four men before the court had been interviewed and each one had made admissions involving himself in the attack on Stevens. All four were juveniles at the time of the assault and one of them had told detectives that they had gone to the Oxford St. area with the intention of assaulting someone for money.
That trial also heard evidence from Kevin Beckham, who was with Stevens on the night of the murder. Beckham told the court that in the early morning of 16 June, 1985 five or six men attacked him and his friends. He had heard voices call out that they were faggots and then someone punched him and Jones.
Beckham said that some of the men were punching Stevens and Jones. Jones fled, but Stevens was knocked to the ground. Beckham said he then ran down the street and hid in the doorway of a block of flats. He saw the men kicking Stevens on the ground and they appeared to be kicking him in the head. He remained hidden in the doorway until the men had left the corner and then walked back to Stevens who was unconscious with blood all over his head and face.
Beckham said a man dressed in women’s clothing was attempting to help Stevens and suggested he get an ambulance.
When the new trial commenced before a jury of five women and seven men, Detective-Sergeant Stephen McCann of Darlinghurst Police gave evidence that, during an interview in Darlinghurst Police Station Tietie, then a teenager, had described to him how Stevens had been kicked to death. McCann said that in a typed record of interview, Tietie had said “I screamed out he had had enough, but they just kept right on.”
When they would not listen, he ran away.
The trial was continuing as of 6 March (1987).
On 27 March, after a trial lasting22 hearing days, Evan Willie Tietie, 18, of Canterbury, Poasa Cagidonu Bolamatu, 17, of Liverpool and Atu Tulele, 17, of Annandale, were found guilty of Stevens’ murder. It was found that, at about 3.30am on Sunday 16 June 1985, the three men had participated in what Mr Justice Finley of the NSW Supreme Court described as a cowardly attack on Stevens and two friends. Stevens, a professional dancer aged 22, was kicked unconscious and remained in a coma until he died from extensive head injuries on 23 June in St Vincent’s Hospital.
In imposing each sentence Justice Finley said he had to reflect the “community’s abhorrence” of such a “brutal and gratuitous crime” being conducted on a “public street of this city,” but had also to take into account the lack of long premeditation, the absence of weapons and no specific ill-will before the attack. He also considered certain “subjective” matters placed before him by counsel, including each of the defendants’ ages.
The fact that they were juveniles at the time of the murder allowed him discretion in the imposition of sentences and non-parole periods.
The following article appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald in 2005, but one of the murders referred to in it occurred in 1985, so the article should be seen here as it is an example of yet another hate crime:
If not for the persistent letter-writing of a mother wanting answers about her son's disappearance, and the dedication of one detective reopening a cold case, the truth of Sydney's brutal cliff-top gay murders might never have emerged.
As then Detective Sergeant Stephen Page delved into the disappearance of the WIN Television newsreader Ross Warren in July 1989, he unearthed evidence of police investigative ineptitude.
He forensically dissected the activities of hate-filled gangs of teenagers - boys and girls - who as a pack bashed, robbed, and murdered men at known gay beats in Marks Park, Tamarama, and in Alexandria and Randwick.
Mr Warren's suspected disappearance at Marks Park was the tip of an iceberg. By the time Mr Page finished his investigation, another file had been reopened, that of John Russell, 31, a barman, found dead at the foot of the Marks Park cliff in November 1989.
And following a police re-enactment in which a dummy was thrown over the cliff, another name emerged: Gilles Mattaini, a 27-year-old Frenchman missing since 1985 and last seen on a regular walk which would take him across Marks Park.
Yesterday the senior deputy State Coroner, Jacqueline Milledge, delivered her findings that Ross Warren, 25, and John Russell had been murdered, most probably by being thrown over the cliff, which was a modus operandi of gay-hate thugs.
There was a strong possibility Mr Mattaini died in "similar circumstances to the other two men". Ms Milledge said the investigation of Mr Warren's disappearance, co-ordinated by a then detective sergeant, Kenneth Bowditch, had been "grossly inadequate and shameful".
The later investigation of Mr Russell's death was "inadequate and naive", she said. It was "disgraceful" that vital forensic material - a tuft of hair in Mr Russell's hand - had been lost. At the time, police closed the cases, saying both men died by misadventure.
Ms Milledge said "persons of interest" who appeared before the inquest - some of whom had served sentences for the murders of other gay men at eastern suburbs beats - might have been involved in the Russell and Warren murders. However, there was insufficient evidence to make a finding against any person.
"The wealth of evidence gathered by Detective Page and his team, however, will provide an excellent source of evidence should other matters come to light ... I cannot make recommendations to change community attitudes towards homosexuals or for homosexuals to abandon the use of beats.
"All I can do is urge communities ... to regard any victimisation of a gay man or lesbian as completely abhorrent and not to be tolerated."
Ms Milledge mentioned Ted and Peter Russell, the father and brother of John Russell, who had attended the inquest every day and heard "awful" evidence of violence and hate. "Mrs Warren never lost sight of her son as a valuable and important person who deserved better," she said.
The case had shown police at their worst, but in Sergeant Page they had been shown at their best. "I don't think anyone will ever follow in your footsteps," she said.
Ms Milledge will recommend that the Police Commissioner award a commendation.
Outside the court, Mr Page, who has left the service, said "I think if we'd managed it a lot better back then, we wouldn't have been giving evidence before a coroner.
"It would have been before a jury and we would have had true finalisation for the families."
From 1986 to 1996 the NSW Police G&L Liaison unit has recorded 31 cases of hate killings*
*(Appendix A P113) and year of killing: - these will be placed in their relevant years and although only identified by initials in the unit report, many of the people will be identified and a fuller history of each will be provided where that information is available:
We were recently contacted by a writer and journalist in the USA, Daniel Glick, who told us about the tragic death of SCOTT JOHNSON, originally recorded as suicide on a Manly, Sydney, beach in 1988. Due to several enquiries there is now a re-opening of the original investigation, and we have placed two articles below, written during 2012.ARTICLE (1)
The re-opening of an investigation into the 1988 death of Scott Johnson – now feared to be a victim of a gay hate murder spree – revisits a dark time in Sydney’s history.
There are many dark sides to life in Australia and occasionally they surface, as they did with the Cronulla riots, or with the murder of the young Indian man in Melbourne, or with the latest asylum seeker debate in parliament.
And, of course, there is homophobia, as exemplified by incidents of violent gay bashings. And there have been many of these in Sydney over the years. A recent Coroner’s Court inquiry has brought to light aspects of this, with the reopening of an inquiry into the death of Scott Johnson at a beat in Sydney in 1988.
The uses of a beat are particularly important for men who live far away from the gay spaces where they might meet others like themselves, or for young men who are coming to terms with their sexuality, or for men who do not identify as ‘gay’ [and so would not go near openly-gay venues]. And while many gay men use beats for fast impersonal sex, for others it is simply a place to just meet other gay man – or possibly a place to meet ‘Mr Right’ and fall in love.
Using ‘beats’ is, of course, not free from danger, the main one being groups of marauding youths, who know where beats are and bash men they suspect of being homosexuals.
Sometimes this has fatal results, as occurred two decades ago, when Richard Johnson (no relation to Scott Johnson) was murdered in a toilet block in Alexandria Park late at night in January 1990. His body was found the next morning on a footpath nearby, and a post-mortem examination revealed that all regions of his body had suffered severe assault – he had been kicked and bludgeoned to death. Six juveniles and two adults were later arrested and charged with the fatal bashing, and three men were later jailed for his murder.
Not all beat murders were investigated with such efficiency. A few years earlier, another case initially had a very different outcome. This was the murder of Scott Johnson, a gay American whose naked body was found at the bottom of Blue Fish Point in Manly in December 1988.
A Coroner’s Inquest in March 1989 ruled Scott’s death a suicide. Since then, new evidence has emerged that clearly indicated that Scott’s death fitted a pattern of anti-gay hate crimes in Sydney during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The initial Coroner’s Court’s inquiry never heard that the area where Scott died was indeed a gay beat. An outreach beat worker for ACON who patrolled the same area in the late 1980s – during the early AIDS education campaigns – pointed out that the area where Scott died was a known beat, one of about 500 or more that operated at the time around Sydney. The magistrate never learnt that another gay man survived a stabbing at the exact spot where Scott died; the court didn’t hear that three men had been arrested a few miles away at Reef Beach for a series of assaults against gay men around the same time; and a former police rescue squad member who had retrieved many suicides from the area later stated: “It does not fit with the type of suicide we normally found around North Head”. Other evidence also emerged that incidents of violence against gay men were prevalent along the Northern Beaches from Narrabeen to Manly during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
South of the harbour, in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, the cliff-side path from Bondi to Tamarama was also a long-time beat, one that also saw numerous bashings and murders. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, roving gay-hate gangs routinely terrorised gay men there, chasing some off cliffs and brutally bashing others. Less than a year after Scott Johnson’s death, the bloodied body of 31-year-old John Allen Russell was found at the bottom of a cliff there; at first, the death was also ruled a suicide. Almost exactly a year after Scott died, a 24-year-old gay man was bashed there and his attackers threatened to throw him off a cliff after they tried to remove his clothing. Another gay man, television newsreader Ross Warren, had gone missing in the same cliff area around the same time, and his body has never been found.
It was only in 2005 that the police Operation Taradale exposed a widespread pattern of attacks against homosexual men in the Bondi area, and eventually a coroner’s inquest ruled that John Alan Russell’s “suicide” was due to “multiple injuries sustained when he was thrown from the cliff on to rocks, by a person or persons unknown”.
These attacks also seemed similar to the circumstances of Scott Johnson’s death, and now his suicide verdict has been overturned, and the case is to be re-opened by police. And the results of other re-opened inquests have meant that Ross Warren, Gilles Jacques Mattaini, Richard Johnson, William Allen, Raymond Keam, Kritchikorn Rattanajurathaporn and Wayne Tonks have all been listed as victims of similar deadly violence.
May all their spirits now rest in peace.
Garry Wotherspoon is a Sydney-based writer and historian, whose books include Being Different: Nine Gay Men Remember, and City of the Plain, a history of Sydney’s gay subcultures since the 1920s.---------------------------------------
The New South Wales Coroners Court has paved the way for a new investigation into the 1988 death of an American gay man in Sydney.
A 1989 inquest ruled the death of 27 year old Scott Johnson to be a suicide despite his body being found naked on the rocks below an area where gay men were known to sunbathe and meet for sex near Manly’s Shelly Beach.
Johnson had no history of depression and had been told only that morning that he was well on his way to achieving his doctorate in mathematics from the Australian National University.
He had also been looking forward to meeting his brother Steve’s baby daughter.
Johnson had a promising career ahead of him having studied at the California Institute of Technology, the University of California Berkeley, and Cambridge University, and had worked at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Johnson was living with his boyfriend’s family in the Sydney suburb of Lane Cove at the time and had been seen alive and well by them earlier in the morning. A friend who called him later that day heard no signs of distress.
Two days later his body was found on the rocks by a group of fishermen.
Johnson’s clothes and personal affects were found neatly folded above the cliffs, and no note was found.
A 2004 coronial investigation looked into a pattern of homophobic bashings and murders on Sydney’ southern shore in the late 80's and early 90's but did not delve into whether similar violence had been occurring north of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Many of the murders had been initially dismissed as suicides by police.
Steve Johnson has been pushing for a fresh investigation into his brother’s death since 2004 and investigations he has funded have resulted in other gay men coming forward to say they were attacked in the area, including one who survived a stabbing at the same spot in 1986.
After reviewing the evidence Deputy State Coroner Carmel Forbes found that suicide was not the only explanation that should have been considered in Scott Johnson’s death.
‘The possibilities that Mr Johnson was the victim of a gay hate crime similar to those that occurred in Bondi or that he fell are also available explanations to the circumstances that surrounded his death,’ she told the court.
‘I find that the evidence adduced in Mr Johnson's death does not enable me to make a funding as to how he fell off the cliff and I make an open finding.’
Forbes referred the case to the New South Wales Police’s cold cases unit.
Steve Johnson told Gay Star News that he had been 'exhilarated and happy' when he heard the coroner's verdict.
"At last we’re taking a step towards the truth as to what happened to my brother,' Johnson said.
He said he was now very confident that a proper investigation would occur.
'We’ve got a lot of people interested in the case now – police as well as friends and my brothers associates here in town who are all helping,' Johnson said.
'One of the things that’s happened in the last seven years that we’ve been pressing to have my brother’s case reviewed is we’ve found lots of people who have become passionate about this case so I’m very confident that now its been turned over to the cold cases unit that we’ll get a thorough investigation.'
Johnson said he was hopeful that a new investigation might also shed light on other attacks that had happened in the area around the same time.
'Just in the course of the last year we’ve spoken to dozens of people who’ve been victims of gay hate violence or who are the family members of victims so we know that there is lots of crime that has gone unreported and we want that investigated and we think this is going to shine a light on the almost epidemic that’s happened in the past in terms of gay hate violence.'---------------------------------
The following article appeared in the Wall Street Journal on 7 FEBRUARY 2013:• NY CULTURE WSJ
When Steve Johnson watches "The Laramie Project," the innovative theater work that explores the brutal 1998 murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyo., he feels an all-too-close connection with it.
"I feel like they are speaking my brother's story," he said.
In 1988, the body of Mr. Johnson's brother, Scott, was found near a cliffside outside Sydney, Australia. Scott's death was ruled a suicide, and the police initially refused to investigate it further, even after it became evident that there had been multiple deaths and beatings in the same location, which was infested with violent youth gangs.
For 24 years, Mr. Johnson has been on a mission to have his brother's death properly investigated as a hate crime and the perpetrators brought to justice. Finally, in June 2012, the case was officially re-opened. Now, through the arts, he's also supporting a way to encourage tolerance and prevent future hate crimes.
Last month, Mr. Johnson and his wife, Rosemarie, donated $100,000 for a new production of "The Laramie Project," which will have its premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Feb. 12. The money will also support the presentation of the play's two-act sequel, "The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later"—the first to be fully staged in New York.
"It's a perfect instrument for creating community dialog," said Mr. Johnson, who lives in Cambridge, Mass. "When it's challenging you with all sort of conflicted points of view, it really makes you think."
"The Laramie Project," which made its premiere in 2000, was created by theater director Moisés Kaufman and members of the New York-based Tectonic Theater Project, who interviewed more than 200 residents of Laramie, Wyo., in the aftermath of Shepard's death. The rural town was thrust into the spotlight in October 1998 when Shepard, a gay student at the University of Wyoming, was tied to a fence, beaten and left for dead by Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson. After making six trips to Laramie, Mr. Kaufman and Tectonic wove interviews, court documents and media reports into a ground-breaking theatrical piece that has been performed around the country and was adapted into a film for HBO.
Flash forward nearly a decade, leading up to the 10th anniversary of Shepard's death. Mr. Kaufman decided to return to Laramie to see what, if anything, had changed there in the intervening years. "Laramie became known all over the world. That's a big burden," he said. "I thought we'd go and write a 15-minute epilogue."
As the second round of interviews began, it became evident that there was no simple way to measure change. The town had added an AIDS walk, and the University of Wyoming had named a symposium on social justice in Shepard's memory. On the other hand, Mr. Kaufman found that some residents had shifted the narrative of Shepard's death from a bias crime to a robbery or a drug deal gone bad. The team interviewed the two lead detectives on the case, as well as the imprisoned murderers.
The result was "The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later," a two-hour work that made its premiere on Oct. 12, 2009, the 11th anniversary of Shepard's death, in more than 150 cities in all 50 states and internationally in Tel Aviv, Melbourne and Hong Kong. Visitors to BAM will be able to see both the first part, "The Laramie Project," and "Ten Years Later" back-to-back or over consecutive days.
Mr. Kaufman noted that seeing the works back to back lends a smooth narrative arc. "It's a story," he said, "of an American town over the course of a decade."
Mr. Johnson's gift has helped reunite most of the plays' original cast from 2000.
"More than being grateful, we're touched. This is a man who lost his brother in a hate crime," said Mr. Kaufman.
That the crime took place on the other side of the world, he added, illustrates the universality of the issues of equality and hate-crime protections. "In America, we've been blessed in that we've seen real changes legislatively," he said. "We cannot forget that, internationally, that is not the case. [Mr. Johnson] appreciates the work, but he also wants this type of dialog to happen."
Mr. Johnson also remains committed to seeing justice done for his brother, going so far as to hire his own a team of independent investigators. "We've produced 50 pages of evidence of what went on at the time," he said. "Former gang members are telling us how it worked."
In one case, he said, a survivor reportedly lived through a stabbing to tell his story. "These gangs had been killing gay men with impunity," Mr. Johnson said.
With Scott Johnson's case now reopened, his family is hoping that an upcoming documentary on Australia's ABC network will encourage police to investigate further. In the meantime, he said, "The Laramie Cycle" continues to reach people through theater with "the power of community to heal and dialog to change people."A version of this article appeared February 8, 2013, on page A20 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Back to Laramie for the Next Chapter.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's television channel 1 has a regular Monday night feature called "Australian Story".
On the Monday night of 11 February they showed the following programme:
This article was from Gay Star News from the UK on 14 March 2013 and tells the story of Steve Johnson's pursuit of the truth about what happened to his brother Scott Johnson in 1988 when he was found dead at the bottom of a cliff in Manley, Sydney. The police at the time, homophobic as ever and still so in 2013, decided Scott had committed suicide. Subsequent inquiries and investigations suggest otherwise.
Scott's death happened at a time when there were many similar gay mens' deaths occurring in several parts of Sydney and the New South Wales police didn't manage to convict too many of the murderers, very often gangs of young men determined to "kill a poofter"!.
Similar crimes are being committed on a daily basis is Australia and around the world.
Scott Johnson, whose body was found at the base of a cliff in Manly in 1988, was murdered as the result of a homophobic hate crime, an inquest has declared.
Johnson’s death at the time was ruled a suicide, and his family has been fighting for justice ever since.
This is the third inquest into Johnson’s death. The previous inquest was inconclusive, while the first upheld the cause of death as a suicide.
“I am of the view it is very unlikely Scott took his own life,” said coroner Michael Barnes.
Johnson’s body was found naked at the bottom of a 60-metre cliff at North Head, at a time when robberies, homophobic assaults and murders were rife in Sydney.
“I conclude it is very likely that gay hate crimes were committed at the relevant location at around the time Scott died,” Barnes said.
Barnes noted that Johnson’s wallet was not found with his clothes or at the home of his partner, Michael Noone, with whom he was staying at the time, ABC News reported.
Back in June, the inquest heard from a witness that a local group had been bragging about targeting and assaulting gay men.
The witness said a group called the Narrabeen Skinheads were allegedly heard bragging about assaulting an “American faggot”.
Barnes also concluded that although Johnson’s clothes had been found near the cliff’s edge undamaged and folded, he may have already been naked when set upon by one or more possible attackers.
“When Scott Johnson’s body smashed into the rocks … a life full of promise and exciting potential was tragically cut short and his family lost a cherished member,” Barnes said.
Independent MP Alex Greenwich welcomed the coroner’s findings.
“The finding confirms again the poor policing and wider community homophobia that occurred during the 1970s, 80s, and 90s when “poofter-bashing” was a serious issue,” he said.
“This is the third inquest into Scott’s death, and the result is a testament to Scott’s family’s persistence.
“The gay community and police have made strong gains to make sure that gay hate murders are properly investigated. We need to make sure this and never occurs again.”
ACON previously backed the Johnson family’s campaign to bring his killers to justice.
“We hope that today’s ruling brings into sharp focus a resolution as to what actually happened to Scott on the cliffs of Manly, recognising that it is just one more step in in a long path toward justice,” ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said in a statement.
“Scott’s untimely death has fuelled unprecedented public speculation. We believe these deaths were not always sufficiently investigated with the requisite due diligence, and have subsequently left many questions in their wake.
“The deaths and disappearances of gay men and transgender women and the epidemic of violence during these decades has left legacy.
“Bias-motivated violence and murder are crimes that hurt both physically and emotionally, and the impact is felt deeply, both individually and communally.”
Parkhill noted that while NSW Police processes and cultures have shifted, there remains a dark history of cases not treated with due process which need to be investigated and accounted for.
“Scott’s death and today’s ruling should be a siren for all, including the NSW Government and NSW Police, that full weight of justice has not been delivered to the perpetrators of this and other horrendous crimes.
“Significantly more work, attention and resources need to be dedicated to righting these historical wrongs,” Parkhill concluded.-----------------------------------------
LEO LESLIE PRESS, 63: murdered on 12 February 1988 in Harbord by Barrie Alan Hodge who was 18 when he bashed Press to death. Hodge was only charged and found guilty of the murder on 11 July 2000 and was sentenced on 6 September 2000 to 15 years' prison, with a non-parole period of 7 years.
The SSO reported on 15 December 1989 that "A man found guilty of a 'poofter bashing' murder in a Geelong public lavatory has been sentenced to 16 years gaol. Daryl Ian Pritchard, 23, a labourer of Newtown, pleaded not guilty to the murder of Brent Everett in a toilet at Johnstone Park on 25 November last year (1988), The Age reported."
BILL ALLEN, 50, of Newtown Street, Alexandria, was found slumped dead over his bath on 29 December 1988. He had been bashed the previous night in Alexandria Park.
"An execution-style murder claimed the life of John Gordon Hughes, on Saturday May 4 (1989)
Hughe's body was found gagged and bound with his throat slashed in his Greenknowe Avenue unit in Potts Point.
He was lying face down on a bed and had been bashed repeatedly with a lamp and pottery bowl. A carving knife was also found nearby.
Hughes had been tied up with electrical wire and a pillowshlip placed over his head.
There were no signs of forced entry and police believe he may have been killed at his own dinner party.
On the night of his death, Hughes had invited several friends over for dinner and the alarm was raised when they could not enter the building and his flatmate forced his way into the apartment.
Hughes, an orphan, came to Australia from England as a young child to a children's home in Western Australia.
Sometime during the next 40 years he found his way to Sydney where he was working as a night porter before his death.
Police suspect the crime may have been drug-related because Hughes was out on bail for drug charges at the time."
1989: RW JR
The SSO reported on 28 July 1989 that "There have been two more serious gay bashing incidents in the Oxford Street (Sydney) area - one inside a gay pub. The pub incident was in the toilet of the Oxford hotel on a recent Friday night."
Under the heading "Murder myth just keeps on rolling", the Sydney Star Observer reported on 8 September 1989: "There has been a major surge in anti-gay assaults in Adelaide, following widespread media claims that a gay murder ring is operating in the city"
On 15 December 1989 the SSO reported that "Two men have appeared in a Brisbane court after being charged with the murder of a Vietnamese born gay man. The men, Bruce Ewen Joseph Doherty, 25, of Dutton Park and Peter Andrew Christopher Murphy, 24, of Sydney, appeared in the Brisbane Magistrate's Court.
They are charged with the murder of So Chieu (Tony) Huynh, 41. Huynh's mutilated body was found in his room in a New Farm apartment house on 11 October (1989)."
In an article in the SSO of 17 November 1989 under the heading "Poofter bashing or first degree murder", Paul Paech wrote - about Queensland - "In Australia, poofter bashing has usually been regarded as an amusing, childish and essentially innocent sport. Rumour has it that our esteemed police force has even indulged in a bit of it from time to time themselves. For most people, the death of South Australia's Dr George Duncan was just 'unfortunate', amounting to little more than a sad accident caused by a few well meaning chaps being a bit careless because thay'd had a few too many drinks.
But now, after AIDS, poofter bashing has turned into something more sinister, something that leaves people with more than a few bruises and a few broken bones and the odd shattered notion about being gay. Today, poofter bashing amounts to first degree wilful murder.
AIDS means that people must now accept that most men really enjoy having sex, and that - one time or another - some of them are likely to do it not just with women but (gasp) with other men. And all the laws in the world won't stop them from doing it."
The article continues to describe a forthcoming election in Queensland and the response from the police minister to the possibility of decriminalising homosexuality in that state and a possible influx of homosexuals to "north of the border"
JOHN ALLEN RUSSELL was found dead at the foot of a cliff near Tamarama in November 1989.
1990: RJ WT KR GW MM
(References Pages 112, 113,114. See also chapter 6 - sexuality and violence: questions of difference - Gail Mason)
MICHAEL JOHN SWACZAK - Islington 1 January 1990. A report in the Sydney Morning Herald of 20 January 1990 stated that a New Year's Eve party organised by Newcastle's gay community and attended by about 500 men had become the focus of a murder investigation into the death of a local teenager, Michael Swaczak, 16. North Region Crime squad detectives have established that Michael, whose naked and badly decomposed body was found on the outskirts of Newcastle on Monday, was at the party at the Islington Bowling Club. Detective Sergeant Lance Chaffey said Michael was seen leaving with some men aged in their thirties about 3.30am on 1 January. His body, naked except for a wristwatch, was found in bushland about 300 metres off the Pacific Highway at Karuah, 50 kilometres from Islington.
RICHARD JOHNSON murdered in toilet block in Alexandria Park on 15 January 1990. A report in the Sydney Morning Herald of 5 February 1990 stated that six juveniles and two adults had been charged with the fatal bashing of a 33-year-old man in Alexandria Park last month. Police alleged that an 18-year-old man, whose name was suppressed from publication, had murdered Richard Norman Johnson, of Coogee, at the park on 24 January 1990. The prosecutor, Sergeant Brad Cropp, said a post-mortem examination and scientific tests had revealed that all regions of Mr Johnson's body had suffered severe assault. His body was found on a footpath near a public toilet block in the park, in the inner-city suburb of Waterloo. Three men were later jailed for his murder.
The SSO reported on 7 September 1990:
GAY SLAYING: YOUTH MAY BE OUT IN 18 MONTHS
A youth found guilty of being involved in the death of a gay man may be able to attend a community youth centre in 18 months time.
On 8 August (1990), the 17-year-old youth, who cannot be named because he is a juvenile, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Rchard Norman Johnson, 33.
A man walking his dog found Johnson’s bloodied body in Alexandria Park on the morning of 25 January (1990).
On 5 February (1990), police alleged in Bidura Children’s Court that at about 10pm on 24 January, Johnson had been kicked and punched, causing severe lacerations, rupturing his liver and his ribs being broken.
The youth told Justice Sharpe of the Supreme Court that he accepted that he and others had been guilty for Johnson’s death. “It makes me very upset that I could do something like that,” he said.
Crown Prosecutor Alan Saunders QC said it would have to be one of the worst cases of manslaughter and bordered on murder.
Justice Sharpe said that the youth had played basketball during the evening and later he and seven others went to a nearby toilet in Alexandria Park where Johnson’s phone number was written on a wall. They went to a telephone box and one of the others called Johnson, who then drove to the toilet. Johnson was then assaulted.
Justice Sharpe sentenced the youth to nine years detention, fixing the minimum period to be served as seven years. Provided the youth is of good behaviour, he may serve his entire sentence in the custody of the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS), rather than in a Corrective Services institution.
The Star Observer also understands that he may be eligible to attend a community youth centre for counselling from 1 February 1992, provided his behaviour is satisfactory. It has been suggested that he may also be released to the custody of his parents at that time.
However, an informed source said that the government’s “truth in sentencing” policy may prevent this happening. The Star Observer contacted FACS in an attempt to have the matter clarified, but had not received a reply when it went to press.
The Star Observer also understands that two more youths involved in the slaying are expected to plead guilty of manslaughter in the Supreme Court in October (1990). The remaining five alleged to be involved are likely to stand trial in January 1991
The Northern Territory News reported from Sydney on 31 August 1991 that a teenager convicted of bashing a homosexual man to death in a public toilet was sentenced to 13 years in jail yesterday (30 August 1991). Dean Barry Howard, 19, was the eighth person jailed over the inner-city killing on January 24 last year (1990). A gang of eight youths were playing basketball at Cleveland Street High School and passed the Alexandria Park toilet block on their way home, deciding to bait a poofter. On the wall they saw a telephone number for 33-year-old Mr. Richard Norman Johnson and rang to invite him to the park. When he arrived at 10.00pm he was set upon by the gang.
WAYNE TONKS, 35, a school teacher at Cleveland Street High School, was bashed and suffocated in his Artarmon home on 19 May 1990. A plastic bag had been tied over his head.
SSO 220597 - WAYNE TONKS - 19 May 1990 in Artarmon.
On 18 November 2000 the Newcastle Herald carried the following report under the heading EX-PUPIL JAILED FOR TEACHER’S MURDER:
A man was jailed for at least 7 1/2 years yesterday for the suffocation murder of a Sydney teacher 10 years ago. Justice Graham Barr accepted that then schoolboy Peter Clive Kane had believed the teacher had raped his best friend.
But the NSW Supreme Court judge said there was no evidence as to whether such an assault had happened.
Kane, now 26, was found guilty of murdering Wayne George Tonks at his home, at Artarmon, northern Sydney, on 19 May 1990.
Kane’s friend was tried separately and was acquitted of the murder and manslaughter of Mr Tonks.
Justice Barr said the friends attacked the teacher with a wooden bat, tied his hands, ankles and knees together and gagged and blindfolded him. He died from suffocation after a plastic shopping bag was put over his head and taped tightly around his neck.
Kane was arrested in May 1997, after his estranged wife and mother-in-law told police he had confessed the killing to each of them. Last year, another jury had found him guilty of murder. But on appeal, he was granted a retrial, which resulted in the same verdict this year. Justice Barr set a maximum of 10 1/2 years, saying Kane was entitled to leniency, because he was only 16 when the crime was committed.
KRICHAKORN RATTANAJATURATHAPORN, 34, was found bashed to death at the foot of a cliff near Tamarama on 22 July 1990. Three teenagers charged with his murder were committed for trial. The SSO reported as follows:
The first report was on 7 September 1990:
THAI MURDER: TWO CHARGED.
Police have charged two juveniles in relation to the murder of a Thai national in the early hours of 21 July (1990). The body of Con Rattanporn, a student who had been living in Australia for about six months, was found wedged underwater between rocks at Mackenzie’s Bay near Tamarama Beach. Police said he suffered a broken nose, fractured skull, broken back, broken right shoulder and a dislocated neck and vertebrae. He also had bruising in his mouth, cheek, ear and sternum. The injuries were consistent with heavy blows and a fall, police said. One youth has been charged with murder and is to appear in Glebe Coroner’s Court on 21 September (1990). The other youth has been charged with assault with grievous bodily harm.
Police said that another person who was assaulted at Mckenzie’s Point at about the same time on 21 July (1990) had been interviewed, and had assisted police with their inquiries.
Police also believe that assaults and robberies of gay men have been occurring in that area for at least three years, and are seeking any information relating to such incidents during that period.
People who have any information may contact the Star Observer on (02) 357 5577. if they do not wish to contact the police. Alternatively they may phone Waverley Detectives on (02)369 9833 or Homicide Detectives on (02) 369 9879. All information will be received in confidence.
The second report was on 21 September 1990 and was as follows:
THAI MURDER: MORE CHARGES LAID
Two more youths have been charged with the murder of a Thai national in the early hours of 21 July (1990). A total of three juveniles have now been charged with the murder of Con Rattanaporn, a student who had been living in Australia for about six months. Rattanaporn’s body was found wedged underwater between rocks at Mackenzie’s Bay near Tamarama Beach.Police are continuing investigations into other violent assaults and robberies that have occurred in the same area over the last three years. Many of these attacks have been against gay men. Any information relating to such incidents may help these investigations.
People not wishing to speak to the police may contact the Star Observer on (02)3577 5577. Alternatively they may phone Waverley Detectives on (02)369 9833 or Homicide Detectives on (02)369 9879. All information will be received in confidence.
"Tony is angry, very angry. He was found unconscious after being attacked in Burton Street, Darlinghurst (Sydney) recently.
He did not see who did it, but was left with a black eye, cuts, and a fractured cheek bone.
Tony, 30, is one of a growing number of gay men and women who are being bashed by gangs, some with children as young as 10.
'This has been going on for too long and nothing seems to be being done about it,' said Tony. 'Twenty of my friends have been bashed in the past year. One had to have his teeth sewn back into his mouth.'
The increase in viloence has provoked a strong reaction among gay men and women, with more than 600 marching in protest last weekend.
Now four inner-city police stations have assigned officers to co-ordinate reports of gay bashings. Gay and lesbian police liaison officer Ms Sue Thompson said plain-clothes officers were trying to trace attackers.
Executive Chief Superintendent Alf Peate, of the Sydney Police District, said there had been at least 30 bashings in the past two months, including one murder.
'This situation is very serious and police will not tolerate sections of the community being targeted for street violence in this way,' he said.
He urged victims to report assaults immediately so that offenders could be identified and arrested.
'We don't really know how big the problem is,' he said. ' It could be that the problem is significantly greater than is being reported. If it is, we need to know.'
He said to ensure police attitudes were fair and understanding, an educational program on dealing with the gay community had been set up at Surry Hills.
The Minister for Police, Mr. Pickering, has agreed to launch a report on gay violence called Dtreetwatch, by the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, within a fortnight.
The report, compiled after 67 people responded to gay newspaper and radio appeals, shows 90 per cent of attacks are by men under 25 in gangs up to 15-strong.
The majority occurr around Oxford Street in Darlinghurst, and King Street in Newtown, where there are prominent gay bars. Eighty per cent of victims, whose average age is 32, suffer head injuries, while more than 50 per cent have limbs broken or other serious injuries.
The report contains a number of recommendations to the police, health and education ministers.
Mr Bruce Grant, co-convenor of the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby said: "Violence is more than just a police issue. It is an education and health issue. Everyone has the right to live in an environment which does not promote bigotry.""
Another appalling issue, reported in the media, finished off homophobia reporting in Sydney in 1990.The Sydney Morning Herald published the following letter on 28 December 1990:
SIR: It is gratifying that after so much effort, the suffering associated with Chelmsford has come into the public arena. For many people, however, Chelmsford is only the tip of the iceberg of a long history of psychiatric abuses in Sydney. "Deep sleep" is not the half of it.
Let us not forget that Dr Bailey was the focus of street protests in 1973 due to his leading role in using psychosurgery to "cure" homosexuality. Scores of lesbians and gay men were forced into lobotomy-like operations, which in many cases ruined their abilities to work, to concentrate, to remember, to be creative and outgoing people. Those years, not so long ago, were the dark times, when terrible drug therapies were prescribed, and hundreds were tortured in "aversion therapy." For all the pain and destruction that were wrought, no-one became heterosexual.
Of course homosexuals were not the only victimes. After Dr Bailey and his colleagues, under pressure, abandoned homosexuals as candidates for neurosurgery, Aborigines and "depressed housewives" increasingly came under the scalpels.
All the victims of these brutalities that were perpetrated in the name of psychiatry deserve compensation. All the doctors who ordered these "treatments" should be publicly investigated.
Ken Davis, Gay Solidarity Group, Broadway.
GAY AND LESBIAN HATE CRIMES - BIBLIOGRAPHY AND RECOMMENDED READING LIST
LESBIAN & GAY SOLIDARITY PAGE
Mannie De Saxe also has a personal web site, which may be found by clicking on the link: RED JOS HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISM
Mannie's blogs may be accessed by clicking on to the following links:
MannieBlog (from 1 August 2003 to 31 December 2005)
Activist Kicks Backs - Blognow archive re-housed - 2005-2009
RED JOS BLOGSPOT (from January 2009 onwards)
This page updated 17 AUGUST 2013 and again on 5 JUNE 2020