Australia SCOTT JOHNSON: Found at base of a cliff at Blue Fish Point, Sydney, NSW - 10 Dec 1989 - $2M REWARD

Scorpio

Well-known member

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The family of Scott Johnson, who died near North Head more than 30 years ago, has offered to match a reward for new information that leads to the conviction of those responsible for his death, with the total now to up to $2 million.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller and NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott, joined Scott Johnson’s brother, Steve Johnson, to announce his personal contribution of up to $1 million, as investigators today (Monday 9 March 2020), renewed the appeal for information.

On the morning of Saturday 10 December 1988, the body of Sydney-based American National, Scott Johnson, was found at the base of a cliff at Blue Fish Point, near Manly’s North Head. Scott was aged just 27.

A coronial inquest in 1989 found Scott had committed suicide, with a second inquest in June 2012 returning an open finding.

The matter was referred for a third inquest and, in 2017, the then-NSW Coroner, Michael Barnes, found that Mr Johnson fell from the cliff top as a result of actual or threatened violence by unidentified persons who attacked him because they perceived him to be homosexual.

Following the inquest, the case was referred to a specialist investigative team, who are continuing to conduct inquiries into the circumstances surrounding Scott’s death under Strike Force Welsford.

To assist with inquiries, the NSW Government increased the $100,000 reward to $1million in December 2018.

Steve Johnson, who lives in the United States, said he had returned to Sydney to support the efforts of detectives to find Scott’s killer or killers.

“I have been greatly encouraged by the recent progress in the investigation, and truly honoured by the reception Scott’s case has had with the community,” Mr Johnson said.

“We now live in a more tolerant and open society – particularly here and in the United States – where societies enable their LGBTIQ communities to be their true selves, live safely and unlock their full potential.

“I wish Scott had been afforded the same opportunity, and every effort I put into helping find his killer(s) is also to acknowledge that bullying and gay-hate crime will not be tolerated in our community.

“So, in addition to the existing $1 million reward, I will provide up to an additional $1 million for the NSW Police Commissioner, at his discretion, to award to any person who comes forward with new information leading to the arrest and conviction of my brother’s killer or killers

“This reward will be for new information and will be in addition to the $1 million reward that Commissioner Fuller announced in December 2018.

“With a reward of up to $2 million on the table, I am hoping that Scott will finally get justice.

“Please, do it for Scott, do it for all gay men who were subject to hate crime, and now, do it for yourself.”

Do you have information that can help police with this case?

Any information you have about this is worth giving to police, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.

You can provide information to police via any of the methods below:
Any information provided will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Your help may give police the clue they need to close this case and provide some comfort for the families of victims.

How to claim your reward
  1. Contact Crime Stoppers or your local Police Station.
  2. Identify yourself and indicate you have information about a crime and that you wish to claim a reward.
  3. You will then be put in contact with a police officer involved in the investigation of that case.
 

Scorpio

Well-known member

Reward doubled to $2 million in gay hate murder
Jordan Hirst 2 weeks ago

The brother of gay man Scott Johnson, who died in Sydney 32 years ago, have matched a police reward for information in his alleged murder, with the total doubling to $2 million.

Scott Johnson’s body was found at the base of a cliff at Blue Fish Point, near Manly’s North Head on December 10 1988. Scott was just 27 when he died.

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A coronial inquest in 1989 found the Sydney-based American National had committed suicide. A second inquest then returning an open finding in 2012.

However a third inquest in 2017 found that Mr Johnson fell from the cliff top “as a result of actual or threatened violence” because of his homosexuality.

After the 2017 inquest, an investigative team has conducted inquiries into the circumstances of Scott’s death under Strike Force Welsford.

To assist with inquiries, the NSW Government increased the $100,000 reward to $1 million in December 2018.

On Monday Scott’s brother Steve Johnson joined with NSW Police to renew their appeal for information with his personal contribution of up to $1 million.

Reward for new information in Scott Johnson gay hate case

The reward is for “new information leading to the arrest and conviction of my brother’s killer or killers.”

“I have been greatly encouraged by the recent progress in the investigation. [I’m] truly honoured by the reception Scott’s case has had with the community,” Johnson said.

“We now live in a more tolerant and open society – particularly here and in the United States.

“Societies enable their LGBTIQ communities to be their true selves, live safely and unlock their full potential.

“I wish Scott received the same opportunity. Every effort I put into helping find his killers is also to acknowledge bullying and gay-hate crime [isn’t] tolerated in our community.

“With a reward of up to $2 million on the table, I am hoping that Scott will finally get justice.

“Please, do it for Scott, do it for all gay men who were subject to hate crime. And now, do it for yourself.”

NSW Police ‘breaking through wall of silence’ in Scott Johnson murder

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller acknowledged Mr Johnson’s “tenacity and commitment, as well as his selflessness.”

“It has been 31 long years in Scott’s family’s pursuit of answers. The dedication to their brother is as inspiring as it is heartbreaking,” he said.

“Steve has never wavered in his fight for justice; dedicating his time and efforts to Scott’s honour.

“Today, he stands before you to offer his own money in hope that detectives get the elusive pieces to this puzzle.

“Our job as police officers is to solve crime. With cases like this, it’s frustrating knowing that a family’s pain and suffering could be eased by someone coming forward.

“It’s no secret police offer rewards in hope they can motivate those people. While the last increase proved somewhat beneficial for investigators, we’ve still got more work to do.

“There’s now up now up to 2 million reasons to talk to us.”

Strike Force Welsford’s Detective Chief Inspector Peter Yeomans thanked Steve Johnson for his continued support.

“One of our greatest challenges has been facing a wall of silence, but we are starting to break through,” he said.

“At this time, we are currently following some very specific lines of inquiry. We believe given the culture of gay hate at that time, the events surrounding Scott’s death would have likely been bragged about.

“There are two potential groups with information: those involved and those they told.

“Now is the time for them – or anyone who has information – to come forward.”

Anyone with information that may assist Strike Force Welsford detectives is urged to confidentially contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or online.
 

Scorpio

Well-known member

Pushed, not jumped

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Blue Fish Point, near Manly, where Scott Johnson was probably pushed over the cliff by gay bashers. Photo: Alec Smart

BY ALEC SMART

On Thursday 30 November, Glebe Coroner’s Court released their findings on a mystery that has intrigued the public since the victim was found naked at the base of a cliff south of Manly in 1988. NSW Police insisted at the time that the victim, Scott Johnson, had committed suicide, but the new inquiry – the third in almost 30 years – has found otherwise.

NSW State Coroner Michael Barnes declared, “Mr Johnson fell from the cliff top as a result of actual or threatened violence by unidentified persons who attacked him because they perceived him to be homosexual.

“I am of the view it is very unlikely Scott took his own life.”

The coroner was also critical of the Police.

“Regrettably, those responsible for the initial investigation quickly jumped to conclusions without thoroughly and impartially examining all the facts,” he said. “By the time numerous mistakes were recognised it was too late to properly test the evidence to find the truth.”

On 10 December 1988, Scott Johnson’s crumpled, naked body was found by a 13-year-old boy and two spear fishermen on a rock ledge at the base of Blue Fish Point, two days after he was last seen alive. It appeared he had fallen 50 metres from the cliff top above, in an isolated spot half way between Manly’s Shelly Beach and North Head.

Although no suicide note was found, Scott’s clothes were discovered neatly folded at the top of Blue Fish Point, 10 metres from the edge, along with some personal items and a bus ticket from Lane Cove, where the 27-year-old American mathematician had been staying.

The initial investigation by Manly Police proclaimed there was no evidence of foul play. Constable Troy Hardie, a Manly police officer who partially oversaw the case in 1988, concluded there were “no suspicious circumstances.”

“There was no evidence of any foul play, so I believed it was suicide,” Mr Hardie later told the Coroner’s Court.
Indeed, within 24 hours of the body being found, investigating officers wrote ‘NFA’ – No Further Action – on the police occurrence pad, and maintained that view, despite suspicions raised by Scott’s family and associates.

A subsequent inquest held at Glebe Coroners’ Court just three months later, on March 16 1989, issued the finding that Scott ended his own life. NSW State Coroner Derrick Hand accepted a presentation by the head of the police investigation, Detective Sergeant Doreen Cruickshank, that Scott’s clothes folded neatly and no obvious sign of a struggle suggested he had a premeditated plan to jump.

And yet scepticism about Scott’s ‘suicide’ began from the outset. Dr Johan Duflou, who performed the autopsy on Scott’s body, told the first inquest in Glebe that Scott’s fall was so disfiguring that the police officers’ insistence there were no ‘defence wounds’ was forensically inaccurate. “There was nothing to suggest one way or another – suicide, accident or homicide.”

Blue Fish Point is a scenic location about half way along a bush trail that leads from Shelly Beach, south of Manly, to North Head, near the entrance to Sydney Harbour. It is accessed by a sandy coastal track that snakes through dense forest around abandoned WWII concrete artillery bunkers, east of an army barracks and the North Head Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The forested area surrounding the path is a notorious ‘beat’ for homosexual liaisons, and this was publicly known in the 1980s. The most popular spot for gay trysts is right on the cliff edge itself at Blue Fish Point, sheltered behind a three-metre high sandstone wall that runs its length and obscures the headland from the path behind – and potential witnesses. Entry is obtained through a hole in the wall.

Scott, a graduate student who had recently submitted his dissertation in mathematics for the Ph.D he was studying at the Australian National University in Canberra, was highly intelligent. He had achieved excellent academic grades from the University of California and the University of Cambridge and, like the familiar joke that rocket science is the domain of the brilliant, had actually worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

He was also a keen mountain climber and long-distance runner, and neither smoked nor drank. He had no history of depression or mental illness, and an autopsy revealed he was not HIV positive.
 

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