Gilles Jaques MATTAINI

Gilles (right) with partner Jacques Musy

 

Gilles Jaques Mattaini was a 27-year-old French national. He was last seen walking near Mark's Park in Sydney's East in 1985.

See also Ross WARREN

12 August 2005
Police Seek Missing Man (Missing since 1985) 


NSW Police from Operation Taradale are appealing for information from the public in relation to the disappearance of a French national in 1985. The 27-year-old Bondi resident, Gilles Mattaini, was last seen in September of 1985. Detective Sergeant Steve Page said investigators were keen to piece together the last known movements of Mr Mattaini. Investigators from Taradale have been investigating a number of serious assaults committed near Marks Park at Tamarama during the late 1980s. "At this time we are trying to determine if the disappearance of Mr Mattaini can be linked to any of the other disappearances or assaults in the area," Det Sgt Page said. "I urge anyone with information about Mr Mattaini's disappearance to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. As always callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and a reward of up to $1000 is payable for information which leads to an arrest", Det Sgt Page said. Mr Mattaini has been described as being of white/European appearance, 170cm tall, between 55 and 60 kgs, clean-shaven and with collar length brown hair.

Detective exposes apathy in gay murder cases

By Leonie Lamont - SMH
March 10, 2005
 

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.

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."

Interview - Stephen Page

Read an edited transcript of an interview between Chris Masters and former NSW detective Sergeant Stephen Page.

Date: 16/05/2005

In 2001, NSW detective sergeant Stephen Page began Operation Taradale, a police investigation into a series of violent assaults and deaths of homosexual men in Sydney’s eastern suburbs in the late 1980s. In March 2005, handing down her findings after conducting an inquest into these deaths, the Senior Deputy State Coroner, Jacqueline Milledge praised Stephen Page – who has since left the police force - for his work, describing it as a shining example of how police investigations should be conducted, and recommended the former officer for official police commendation.

Q. So Steve, can you describe the beat scene in Sydney, as it existed in the late 80s early 90s?

S. With beats, they’re as unique as the gay men who go there. You have some beats that may be truck stops that will cater for truck drivers. You’ll also have the beats just as probably a lot of us know, toilet blocks which is a meeting point out of the public view. Also parks, opens spaces and it’s basically word of mouth that beats exist, and once they get their hold in the gay community, it can be pretty hard to shake that stigma. Gays will keep going to that place with the intention of getting sex.

Q. So what’s the profile of the participants? Are these typical Oxford Street gays?

S. No. Oxford Street gays will go to Oxford Street, meet their partners and carry on with life. What you’ll have is people who perhaps don’t want to be known as homosexual and they want to remain anonymous and they will go to beats. The attraction with beats, you’ve got anonymity. It’s free and there’s no long-term ties with whom you meet.

Q. So do the people who go to these beats, do they see themselves as gay necessarily?

S. You’ll get gay men going to gay beats but you’ll also get bisexual men going to gay beats. You’ll have other people such as - the term that we’ve used is in the closet. They don’t want to be known in the community as gay and they will also go there. Beats are known within the gay community where they go to pick up the less overt members of the gay community.

Q. So these are men that have very much crossed over? They may well have appeared to be perfectly heterosexual in another life?

S. Well and truly.

Q. How risky was it?

S. It was very risky. The period I was looking at was late 1980s. There was a lot of violence towards gays back in that era. There was a lot of phobia against gays back in that time. In the mid 1980s it was still an offence for men to have homosexual intercourse with other men and you also had the hysteria of AIDS when it first came out. And, if everyone can remember the Grim Reaper ads and the repercussions that sent through society, there was a lot of fear and loathing of gays at that time.

Q. Was there also danger from within the gay community? I mean, when they had sexual contact with one another, were they also at risk?

S. There were risks of violence with your partner. What we’ve got to remember is that adrenalin was running pretty high amongst the partners and if things didn’t go one way or the other you know violence could happen. One partner could flair up and strike out. I certainly became aware of violence upon gays at the beats I looked at.

Q. So they were fearful of gay bashers, of groups of young white men who would take them on? Also, they were fearful of running into a partner who, for one reason or another, might want to take it out on them, and they were fearful clearly of the police?

S. Yes.

Q. So tell me about the range of murders. I mean Wayne Tonks was murdered in May 1990, but before and since there were quite a few others. Can you set the scene for us?

S. We had one fellow, Richard Johnson, who was bashed to death at Alexandria Park. There was another fellow also who was bashed at Alexandria Park - made it home and subsequently died and had complained of being bashed and he was a member of the gay community. We had a Thai national in 1990 – he was bashed at Mark’s Park and subsequently fell to his death over a cliff. We’ve had two other murders of John Russell and Ross Warren again at Mark’s Park, where they’ve met their death purely because they were gay, and there’s another five or six that I could run you through, plus the other attempted murders that I’ve come across.

Q. So did you feel at the time that there was any likelihood that the perpetrators were much the same? That this was a gang operating or a series of gangs?

S. I came to the conclusion there was a series of gangs and to some degree there was crossovers between the gangs. The gangs weren’t static. They were mobile. They wouldn't just hit one beat, they’d be aware of all of them and they’d travel around until they were cashed up sufficiently to satisfy their needs and move on.

Q. Is there a typical motivation? Is there a particular reason why they were doing this?

S. There’s many motivators that I came across. What we had that I did see was pure greed. What we had were gangs of youths who just wanted to get some money. They saw the gays as being people who were reasonably well off in society. They hit them at a gay beat and they knew that they would be unlikely to report those offences to the police so they could literally get away with those crimes. You also had people who as children had been victims of paedophiles and had a misguided hatred of paedophiles directed towards gays, and they would strike out at anyone who they believed was remotely connected to what they were affected with.

Q. And perhaps in some circumstances even fear and loathing about their own sexuality, taking it out on, on gay men?

S. Well and truly yes. These were very, very violent offences. I’ve seen a number of underworld killings and they’re clinical. They’re businesslike where someone is shot and we move away. These bashings seemed to be more pleasure orientated. There’d be a lot of violence involved and to some extent a lot of torture of the victims.

Q. They were cruel?

S. Very cruel.

Q. Can you give us a bit more detail of what happened to Richard Johnson?

S. Richard Johnson was a gay man who was lured to a gay beat at Alexandria Park. There he was met by eight youths and he was punched and kicked until he was dead. A very violent, bloody death.

Q. And what contact did Wayne Tonks have with any of those perpetrators?

S. He was a schoolteacher where the majority of them went to school. They knew him.

Q. And they went back to school after they’d been charged?

S. Yes.

Q. So he had regular contact with them?

S. Yes.

Q. It must have been considered at the time that was a clue that was too hard to ignore considering Wayne Tonks’ later death.

S. That’s right.

Q. But as it turned out they were unrelated.

S. Yes.

Q. You mentioned the Grim Reaper ad. Was there much understanding of the differentiation of contracting the AIDS virus through different forms of sex? I mean set the scene if you would a little bit to explain the hysteria that existed at that time.

S. At that time there was an understanding that the people who were most affected by the AIDS virus were members of the gay community getting the virus through unsafe sex and because they were potential carriers of the disease, everyone was trying to keep them at arms distance.

Q. So this was another excuse if you like to go after them?

S. Yes.

Q. What about this differentiation between homosexuality and paedophilia. Were the lines also blurred there?

S. They were blurred to the offenders. With my enquiries you’ve got paedophiles and you’ve got homosexuals. You don’t tend to have a crossover, but there was a misguided hatred between some of the offenders that if you had sex, consensual sex between men, you were still a deviate and still suffered their wrath.

Q. Steve I know this enquiry occupied a great deal of your life. You conducted a very thorough examination. Do you think that attitudes have changed since these murders occurred?

S. Yeah well and truly. Mid-1980s it was an offence for gay men to have sex and I know with the first Mardi Gras the police marched into it swinging batons and I think these days they march in the Mardi Gras twirling batons. Society’s come a long way since then.

Q. So how prominent was gay bashing at this time?

S. It was very prominent. Gay beats had victims seen as easy targets. Offenders would walk away cashed up and numerous people have called it the sport of the 80s. I’d probably lengthen it and call it the team sport of the 80s because there were no brave people in amongst that. They were all cowards and they would all act as a group.

Q. Thanks very much Steve.

Coroner criticises police investigation into gay men's deaths

   

PM - Wednesday, 9 March , 2005  18:39:34

Reporter: David Mark - ABC

MARK COLVIN: An investigation stretching back 20 years had an ending of sorts today, when the Deputy New South Wales Coroner handed down her findings into the deaths of three gay men in Sydney.

The three men died or went missing in the mid to late 1980s from a well-known gay haunt in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs.

The cases were all investigated, inadequately according to the Coroner, and quickly forgotten.

But in a story that could come from the files of a television "cold case" program, a New South Wales policeman who wanted to know the truth re-opened the cases a decade later.

David Mark reports.

DAVID MARK: The late 1980s and early '90s were a dangerous time to be gay in Sydney.

Gay hate crimes were prolific around Sydney's inner city and eastern suburbs.

At least seven people were murdered, while others were brutally attacked in a violent spree dating from 1985 to 1990.

While some people were arrested and prosecuted, many of the crimes went unsolved.

STEPHEN PAGE: Gay bashing was seen as a sport, particularly for young single men, predominantly of Caucasian background. And it appeared with a lot of them that they couldn't differentiate the difference between paedophiles and homosexuals.

DAVID MARK: Detective Sergeant Stephen Page of Paddington Police began investigating one of those unsolved cases in 2000 when a letter came across his desk.

STEPHEN PAGE: Kay Warren, the mother of Ross Warren, had written numerous letters to the police service asking that an inquest be held into her son's death. One came across my desk, and I could sense the hopelessness in Kay Warren's words that she was using, and I felt for her.

She was a mother who'd lost her son. She didn't have the opportunity of burying her son. There was no body. And I wanted to help her by giving her a little bit of closure.

DAVID MARK: Stephen Page saw a link between the disappearance of Ross Warren in 1989 and the death four months later of another man at a known gay beat near Sydney's Bondi Beach.

STEPHEN PAGE: With Ross Warren he was a 25-year old man. He was homosexual, and he met his demise at Mark's Park at Tamarama. Four months later we had the death of another fellow by the name of John Russell, who was 31 years of age, also homosexual. And taking into account that both people met their demise at their location, taking into account victimology – both victims were homosexual men attending a gay beat. And there's the history of violence towards gay men back in that era. I just couldn't exclude the possibility that we had the potential for serial offenders.

DAVID MARK: And so in 2003 he presented a comprehensive dossier to the New South Wales Deputy Coroner Jacqueline Milledge. Two 11-year-old cases were being reopened and a third was soon added.

Gilles Jaques Mattaini was a 27-year-old French national and a homosexual who also went missing. He was last seen walking near Mark's Park in 1985.

One factor linked all the cases, apart from the victims' homosexuality and the location of their death or disappearance – they were all poorly investigated by police at the time.

Here's Stephen Page on the Ross Warren investigation – one the Deputy Coroner has described as grossly inadequate, naive and shameful.

STEPHEN PAGE: There was no crime scene photographs. There was no… there appeared to be no canvassing of witnesses. There were no witness statements. From my point of view it was almost as if the offence happened yesterday.

DAVID MARK: The Deputy Coroner's findings were handed down today.

Jacqueline Milledge found that Ross Warren and John Russel had been murdered and while she did find Giles Mattaini had died, she couldn't say how.

And she's launched a scathing attack on the New South Wales Police force for not only their handling of the investigations but also for the way the attitudes of some police alienated members of the gay community.

CORONER'S FINDING EXTRACT: It wouldn't be unreasonable for the gay community to believe that as a group they don't warrant proper police attention. It's hard for the New South Wales Police force to be seen as progressive and equitable when some officers fail in their duty to the community they're meant to serve.

DAVID MARK: Stephen Page has retired from the police, but was on hand at the Coroner's court this morning to hear her findings and was delighted.

STEPHEN PAGE: I'm extremely pleased with the findings, and also the opinion that the Coroner's put forward at the time of findings.

What we had, basically, was cowardly acts by groups of young men going out and bashing gays for no other reason than it being a sport and to chase money. You know, they're not mainstream society. They're people that should be despised.

DAVID MARK: Do you believe there will come a time when people are prosecuted for these crimes?

STEPHEN PAGE: It's not beyond the realms of possibility. I've been involved in matters before which have been cold for many many years, and then all of a sudden a witness comes out of the blue and we can just keep our fingers crossed.

MARK COLVIN: Former New South Wales Police detective sergeant, Stephen Page, ending David Mark's report

Following please find the Coroner's Report into Gilles' death -

InQuest into the death of.fohn Alan RUSSELL

InQuests into the susoected deaths of Ross Bradlev WARREN &

Gilles JacQues MATTAINI

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The Victims

On Thursday 23 November 1989, the body of John Alan Russell was discovered

lying on rocks below the very popular Bondi to Tamarama walking path. The area

where Mr Russell was found is known as 'Marks Park'. It was also known to be a

'gay beat' frequented by men intending to meet other men for casual sex.

Mr Russell was 31 years of age and homosexual. He resided with his brother Peter at

Bondi. He was hard working, engaged in two jobs and had the support of a loving

and committed family. He was excited about his plans to build a 'kit home' on his

father's farm at Wollombi near Cessnock, funded by a substantial inheritance form his

grandfather. He also intended to use some of that money to travel around Australia.

The night before his death he was socialising with a friend at the Bondi Hotel. He was

last seen alive at 11 pm.

Near Mr Russell's body were a number of coins. On one of Mr Russell's hands were

human hairs believed to be from another person. Whilst there is evidence that these

crucial hairs were 'bagged' for analysis, they were lost well before the initial inquest

and were never forensically examined as part of the investigation.

His death was investigated, however the Officer in Charge of the matter deemed his

death 'accidental' and it was not further pursued as a possible homicide. Some police

involved in the investigation, however, were suspicious of the circumstances ofMr

Russell's demise and believed that he may have been a victim of a violent assault.

An inquest was conducted on 2 July 1990. Unfortunately no transcript of that

proceeding is available therefore what was made of the missing hairs remains

unknown.

The cause and manner of death was recorded as " the effects of multiple injuries

sustained then and there when he fell from a cliff to the rocks below, but whether he

fell accidentally or otherwise, the evidence does not enable me to say. "

Four months before Mr Russell's death, another young man, Ross Bradley Warren,

was reported 'missing'. At the time of his disappearance he was 25 years old and was

a television presenter with WIN 4 Television in Wollongong. He was homosexual.

His last known contact was with a friend in Oxford Street, Sydney, when they parted

company at 2am on 22 July 1989. Mr Warren had made plans to visit friends on that

weekend and when he hadn't contacted them, they became concerned.

After initially telephoning police, his friends presented to Paddington Police Station

and formally reported him 'missing'.

Mr Warren's friends gave considerable thought as to where he may have gone and

began a search of the Marks Parkffamarama area. On 23 July 1989 they located his

car in Kenneth Street Bondi, very near to Marks Park. The next day, the two men

returned to the area and located Mr Warren's keys in a rock 'pocket' below the cliff

near the water's edge. These keys were given to police. Police subsequently searched

the car finding his wallet.

Evidence was given that police initially investigated Mr Warren's disappearance and

were greatly assisted by his two friends. Mr Warren's mother and family also assisted

with enquiries and an appeal for information concerning his whereabouts was made

through the media.

Within a week of his disappearance, without Mr Warren's body being found or his

disappearance explained, the senior detective co-ordinating the investigation chose to

sideline the investigation by concluding "Investigating police are of the opinion that

the missing person has fallen into the ocean in some manner and it is anticipated that

his body will surface and be recovered. I am not able to offer any explanation as to

how he would have fallen into the water, only that the area near where the keys were

located is a treacherous rock formation which at present time is secreting a lot of

water and moisture from recent rains. There is extensive moss and slippery sections

from where experience (sic) would not be difficult to envisage slipping onto the rocks,

particularly after 2am on the morning of 22 July".

Mr Warren's suspected death was never reported to the Coroner.

Gilles Jacques Mattaini was 27 years old at the time of his disappearance. He was a

French National. He was homosexual.

At the time he went missing he had overstayed his visa and was concerned about his

residency. Whilst he was worried about his future in that regard, he was also excited

about a friend who was soon to visit from France and had purchased furnishings to

decorate his apartment. He lived in a flat in Bondi with another friend who had

returned to France in August 1985 for a brief holiday.

His flatmate was contacted in France by another concerned friend. He had been made

aware that Mattaini had not presented for work. When the flatmate returned to Sydney

in September, both men undertook an extensive search for their friend but it proved

fruitless.

Mr Mattaini was known to take long walks along the Marks Park walking track. He

would wear earphones on his walks, this item was missing from his home as well as a

yellow spray jacket and his keys.

Mr Mattaini would not frequent the Mark's Park area for male companionship. He

was said to be shy. He was last seen walking on the track at Bondi on or about 15

September 1985.

2

One of his friends engaged in the original search, believed the other friend had

reported Mr Mattaini 'missing' to the Paddington Police Station. No report of that

could be found. No police investigation was undertaken at the time and that person

who allegedly report him 'missing' is now deceased.

Mr Mattaini' s father was not close to his son and his mother believed it was possible

that her son had 'suicided'. There is no evidence before me to support the finding of

'suicide'.

The Area

Detective Sergeant Page describes it this way. "Marks Park at Tamarama is situated

on a headland between Bondi Beach and Tamarama Beach. The Park is

predominantly open space with a walkway on its eastern side travelling adjacent to

the ocean front. The park is bordered by Marks Lane to the west and the area is

residential with a mi.x of detached dwellings and unit blocks. The park itself is

somewhat elevated. However there are several locations where steps have been

created for easy access to the coastal walkway".

Marks Park was formally called MacKenzies Point.

The area is a popular walking track during the day and at night gay men will 'cruise

the coastal walkway rattling keys or coins as an indication of their availability for

personal contact.

Some vegetation and rock formations provide a screen for the men to engage in

physical contact, but mostly once a person was 'engaged' the parties would retreat to

cars or homes.

It was well known to everyone in the community that this was a gay beat, including

the police.

The 'Beat'

Expert evidence was given at inquest into the nature of men who engaged in sex in

these areas. Gay men, and men who have sex with men, frequent 'beats' to engage in

anonymous free sex. There are 'beats' in all areas including country NSW. 'Beats'

can differ from place to place to suit the different needs of men who frequent them.

Marks Park was known as a night time 'beat' and was very busy and popular,

The 'Gav Hate' climate at the time

The inquest was told:

.Gay men are more likely to be victims of violence than other male

members of the community.

~

.....

Homosexuals in that era were not likely to report crimes of violence

against them because of shame and embarrassment. They also believed

Police would not respond appropriately to their victimisation.

In NSW 22% of 'gay hate' homicides between 1989 and 1999 occurred at

'beats'.

There is a disproportionate level of 'gay hate' homicides perpetrated by

teenagers.

Predominately the offenders are white, Caucasian, single and unemployed,

The common cause of death was beating.

The involvement of strangers as offenders in 'gay hate' crime is

significantly higher when compared to other male homicides.

Offenders often admit to a long history of violent attacks against gay men.

Motives established through 'debriefing' of offenders include prejudice

and homophobia, group initiation, proving masculinity, proving they are

not gay, entertainment, robbery, 'alpha male syndrome', a belief that gay

men are 'soft' targets and less 'legitimate'.

1989/1990 a number of gay men were attacked and some killed in the inner city and

eastern suburbs, all victims of 'gay hate' violence. Whilst a number of offenders were

arrested, many of the brutal attacks went unsolved. It is fair to say that only a

percentage of the brutality would have been reported to the police at that time.

On 24 January 1990, Richard Nonnan Johnson was murdered. Eight

persons were convicted, five for manslaughter, three of murder.

.

A Thai National Mr Kritchikom Rattanajurathapom, was murdered at

Marks Park on 21 July 1990, three youths were convicted of that homicide.

A comparable assault on a male at South Bondi on 18 December 1989

Another brutal assault on a male at South Bondi on 21 December 1989

.

The murder of William Allen at Alexandria Park 28 December 1988

The murder of Wayne Rick Tonks at Marmon 19 May 1990

The murder of Raymond Kearn at Allison Park, Randwick on 13 January

1987.

All these victims were homosexual men. All assaults and killings were unprovoked

and vicious.

Whilst Mr Tonks was murdered outside the 'area' he had been a schoolteacher to

many of the gay hate assailants and killers. There is no doubt his murder is linked to

all the other incidents.

During the 1980's and 1990's police were aware of a number of gangs of youths that

were systematically engaged in the assault and robbery of gay men in Marks Park and

other areas. The gangs were given identifying 'tags' by the police, and the gangs

4

themselvesa doptedn amest hat werei ndicative of their foul mission

Side Killers is an example.

'PSK' for Park

These gangs of misfits saw homosexual men as easy targets. The victims' lifestyles

often providing a shield for the perpetrators, as they believed that their prey would be

reluctant to come forward and report their attacks. The gangs believed they were

'safe'.

While many did not report to police some victims did in the hopes of identifying and

stopping their assailants.

The Police lnvestil!ations -Past & Present

The disappearance of Ross Bradley Warren was reported to police within 48 hours of

his last sighting. The investigation was co-ordinated by Detective Sergeant Bowditch,

however within the week the Detective Sergeant had effectively 'closed' any further

investigation by concluding Mr Warren dead by misadventure.

When questioned with regard to the detail of his investigation, (the now) Mr

Bowditch asserted all was done to detennine the circumstances of Mr Warren's

demise.

He was insistent that his brief of evidence was submitted to the coroner in 1990. No

brief of evidence was ever received by this office. When asked if he kept copies, he

stated copies of all documents would have been sent to Missing Persons to be kept in

a folder.

There are no photographs of Mr Warren's car, keys or crime scene. He assured the

inquest that the Scientific Section (Crime Scene) was called and attended, however he

could not nominate any officer, nor was there a record of the 'callout'.

Similarly he stated the Air Wing and the Water Police were called to examine the

area. Again records held at those Sections do not show any 'callout' to the Warren

disappearance.

On the one document that was located, he nominated three other officers as assisting

him in the investigation. Two of those officers deny any involvement in the

investigation, one was on annual leave at the time of being nominated.

When asked by Counsel Assisting Mr Lakatos why there were no notebooks, duty

books, statements or other documents from the earlier investigations, Bowditch

answered "After that period of time a copy would have gone to Missing Persons, I do

recall that in 1991/1992 a task force was set up by Missing Persons or the Police

Department to put on the TIM System, all records pertaining to previously missing

people. The originals that were taken by myself into Missing Persons and the Task

Force, I recall it was headed by a Detective Inspector Mal Cox. Now they put

everything on the TIM System. Records were left with them, plus a copy was left at

Paddington. Now where those records are sir, I have no idea and that included

dental charts, recent photographs of Mr Warren, which were brought down from

Queensland by his parents. Bank checks on his credit cards to see if his credit cards

5

had been used. All the nonnal stuff we do in an inquiry. Now where it is I have no

idea and I am appalled the department has lost it"

He's right! It is appalling that no documents allegedly struck during the course of the

investigation have been found. There were no records of any of the specialist police

Bowditch asserts he involved in the matter having been 'activated',

This state of affairs defies belief.

To this day, no documentsh aves urfaced,n or has their supposedd isappearancbee en

explained.

This was a grossly inadequate and shameful investigation. Indeed to characterise it as

an 'investigation' is to give it a label it does not deserve.

Bowditch knew that the area was a 'gay beat' even volunteering that he knew "the

goat track in Moore Park was a 'gay beat". However he paid little or no regard to the

possibility of foul play.

Almost 4 months to the day of Mr Warren's disappearance, the body of John Allan

Russell was discovered at the base of a rocky cliff at Marks Park.

Had police paid careful attention to the crime scene and the vital evidence that

presented to them, the perpetrator of that brutal act may have been identified or, at the

very least, Mr Russell's death would have been seen differently and not simply as a

result of 'misadventure'.

A 'better' investigation was undertaken for Mr Russell but it too was far from

adequate. Whilst it was known that Marks Park was an area where homosexual men

were bashed and robbed, little investigation regarding this type of activity was

undertaken into Mr Russell's death.

In fairness to the police involved, Sergeant Ingleby and Constable Scanlon had always

considered the possibility that these were more than just disappearances and more

than accidents.

Unlike the Warren case, good crime scene photos were taken of Mr Russell's body

and surroundings. In a number of the photo's a clump of hair can be seen in his hand.

Whilst evidence was given that those vital hairs were secured and bagged for forensic

testing, none was undertaken and the exhibit was lost. Disgraceful!

The police officers that should have been responsible for the safe storage of exhibits

blamed each other for its disappearance by stating the other should have been

responsible for it safe keeping. Not good enough!

Dr Alan Cala, Forensic Pathologist, gave evidence in this current inquest that it

appeared (from the photographs) that the hair did not belong to Mr Russell and

appeared to have been pulled from another person "tugged out".

6

When asked about the hair Dr Cala stated "MrRussell's hair is dark brown and these

hairs that I saw. but they looked, they did not look as if they would have come

naturally from M r Russell's head hair".

He continued "However I can't be absolutely sure and obviously I can't say that they

were definitively not from MrRussell, but they don't appear to be. That'sprobably

all I can say, but it's also unusual, in a case like this, and I've seen many people

who've jumped from great heights. The findings of hairs is unusual and would raise

questions with me ".

Unfortunately the significance of this appears to have been lost on the police officers.

Like the missing Warren brief of evidence, this important exhibit has never been

found nor has a satisfactory explanation been given as to the reason it was not

safeguarded at the time.

The positioning of Mr Russell's body should also have triggered some concerns for

the investigating officers.

Dr Cala was asked by Counsel Assisting, Mr Lakatos "What conclusions if any, did

you draw from the examination of the photographs which showed that Mr Russell's

head was towards the face of the cliff andhis legs were towards the sea if/can

put it that way? "

Dr Cala answered " Yes. That's an unusual position, most people that are found

around the Gap or North Head, around the cliffs of Sydney are not in that position.

They're head is facing towards the ocean and their feet towards the cliff So this is an

unusual position. What it means to me is that it's likely that this man, perhaps, his

body has twisted on the way down, rotated, in some way such that he's landed and

stayed in this position, because as I've said he hasn't moved. As soon as he's struck

the rocks he hasn't been able to move. That being the case would make me wonder

whether he's been deliberately thrown off the cliff perhaps ".

Toxicology examination of Mr Russell's system indicated a blood alcohol reading of

.255. This is a high reading and on its own could suggest Mr Russell could have met

his death accidentally, but decompositional changes in Mr Russell's body could also

account for an increased alcohol reading.

Dr Cala' s evidence supported the probability that Mr Russell was thrown from the

cliff.

Mr Lakatos asked the Doctor about the sloppy-joe Mr Russel was wearing:

"Concerning the configuration of the fold in the jumper which lead you to certain

conclusion. Can you just tell us what that was?"

Dr Cala answers " Yes the sweater that he's wearing is pulled up at the back and at

the front and exposes his lower back and the lower front of his chest and abdomen. If

somebody even fell accidentally I would expect that the jersey, it looks very loose in

fact and would tend to be positioned over the belt line of the jeans, I would expect.

7

But it's not it is quite a long way up his body and that again makes me wonder

whether it's been actually forcible retracted in some other way by another person

The very limited earlier police investigation into Mr Russell's death does not take

these features into account.

In both Mr Warren's disappearance and Mr Russell's death there were similarities that

should have linked them in the early stages of the investigation and suggested to the

police the possibility of foul play in both deaths.

Both men were homosexual. The last place either man was prior to death was Marks

Park. Mr Russell had coins scattered near his body, Mr Warren's keys were found on

the rocks. These items were used by some men to attract attention in that area and

may have been used for that purpose by the victims. Marks Park was a known area

for brutal attacks on homosexual males. Yet investigating police believed Mr Warren

and Mr Russell met their death by 'misadventure'.

The earlier investigations into these men were inadequate and naIve. Not so the

current investigation that triggered the inquests into the death of Mr Russell and the

suspected deaths of Mr Warren and Mr Mattaini.

Not only was the investigation thorough, it was impeccable. Everything that could be

done was done. Extremely sophisticated police techniques and methodology were

used. The Detective in charge of the investigation Detective Sergeant Stephen Page

was committed and was an abundantly talented investigator.

I began my finding by stating Mr Russell's death had already gone to inquest in July

1990 and his investigation may have remained as it was.

Mrs Warren, Ross Warren's mother had continually written to the police seeking to

have the investigation into her son's death brought to a conclusion. She wanted a

death certificate to enable her to deal with his property and give the family a little

'closure'. This was never done until her last plea for action.

Her son's death could not be considered by the Coroner as the police had not reported

his suspected death. As no brief was available, his death needed to be re-investigated.

During the course of these enquiries, Detective Page noticed similarities between Mr

Warren's suspected death and a number of incidents of foul play against gay men. He

asked for appropriate resources to allow a full investigation into this and related

matters. To his credit and the credit of his Commanders, Operation Taradale was

established and an investigation plan was set in place.

I do not intend to reveal any of the methodology used during the course of the

operation, suffice to say valuable information was obtained that lead to arrests for

other matters and gave this inquest an opportunity of examining a number of persons

of interest in relation to these deaths.

As a result of media attention during the course of this inquest, a number of persons

volunteered information to police concerning the disappearance of Mr Warren. There

was an alleged sighting in South Australia and an alleged phone call to his place of

8

employment stating he was alive and well. Both accounts were investigated but found

to be unreliable.

No additional information was received concerning Mr Russell, however Mr

Mattaini ' s friends contacted police when they believed his disappearance my have

been related to their current inquiries. Fifteen years after Mr Mattaini' s disappearance,

his suspected death was to be investigated by police.

Given new material unearthed by Detective Page, the inquest into the death of Mr

Russell was re-opened pursuant to Section 23A of the Coroner's Act of 1980.

The Current Inauest

Evidence was taken from dozens of witnesses, police officers, victims and

perpetrators.

The inquest was very much a 'work in motion'. Detective Page's investigation was

ongoing during the hearing. Statements were taken from many more witnesses as

they became known during the course of the inquest.

The brief of evidence as it stood at the beginning of the inquest comprised 6 lever

arched folders of statements and 276 annexures. Detective Pages original statement

was some 258 pages. Every page contained valuable and important information

crucial to understanding the circumstances of the deaths and disappearance of our

victims.

A number of witnesses were in custody, serving sentences for similar matters being

considered by the inquest. Some witnesses had been convicted of murder and served

sentences of up to 14 years. The killers of Mr Rattanajurathapom gave evidence.

Many of the witnesses were 'persons of interest' most denying any involvement in

violence against homosexual men. The evidence they gave was completely at odds

with the police intelligence gathered during the course of the investigation and whilst

it was 'possible' that some were involved in the deaths of Mr Russell and Mr Warren,

the weight of evidence was not there to support any finding in that regard.

General admissions were made by some 'persons of interest' during conversations

with family and friends. Details of Mr Russell's death and the disappearance of Mr

Warren were discussed. These brutes that prey on people are known to be cowardly

and boastful. Whilst a lay person could get quite excited about hearing one of them

boast they had some involvement in the matter, without any independent evidence

linking them to the event they could not be prosecuted successfully for any crime.

The wealth of information gathered by Detective Page and his team, however, will

provide an excellent source of evidence should other matters come to light. It is

always possible that someone will decide to tell police what they know about a

perpetrator if they feel the need. Relationships between these thugs do not always

remain 'solid'.

9

The NSW Police and its Gav/Lesbian Clients

Ms Sue Thompson, the former Gay and Lesbian Client Service Policy and

Programmes Officer, gave evidence the NSW Police Force had been a leader in

Gay/Lesbian Client relations in the 1990's. She established training programmes for

police and established a network of Gay Liaison Officer across the State.

She conducted training days to selected schools where issues of homophobia had been

identified. This provided a double benefit in that children were being educated to

tolerate 'differences' in others but it also provided a valuable source of 'feedback'

where police were given some insight into the thinking and actions of school based

'gangs',

The cuITent Gay/Lesbian Client Consultant, Mr Toolan, told the inquest that some of

the projects had stalled since Ms Thompson had been on sick leave, however he

tendered a number of documents supporting the cuITent position that the

Commissioner of Police is actively considering guidelines for the effective policing of

'beats' .

A Beat Working Group had been established to identify key stakeholders that could

be consulted when considering any policies that effect policing 'beats'. The focus of

the group was 'Beat Usage Reduction and Safety Improvement'.

The issue of 'beats' is contentious. There are many who support their existence, there

are those that cannot understand the need for them given the improving attitudes of

the community towards homosexual men.

One witness, a gay man, gave this evidence regarding 'beats': "My philosophy is very

simple. A lot of gay guys don't agree with me but I believe it's all over red rover.

You know the days of going and doing beats, searching for partners and that is

dangerous, risky business and I'm not saying that people who go there deserve any

sort of retaliation but I'm saying we need to take responsibility for our own behaviour

and I think the message needs to go out loud in the gay community, which I am a

part of. I believe that we need to look at these things and say okay these are the

problems, right, we need to send the message out that we shouldn't be going down to

these parks because its too dangerous. With all good intentions the police officers,

many of them, are trying to do their best with limited education on how to deal with

the problem. "

His sentiment is simple and sensible and I agree that homosexual men should be

discouraged from attending 'beats'. They are exposed to treacherous individuals that

prey on victims for 'sport'. Policing 'beats' is also problematic.

'Beats' are however a 'given' in any community. Police must be aware of the

problems associated with them and the violent criminal behaviour that they attract.

Policing 'beats' is not simply an exercise in gay client and police relationships, it

must have a strong operational focus for the reduction of crime and the safety of

individuals using those areas for whatever purpose.

10

Evidence was given that at the time of these disappearances and the death of Mr

Russell, police attitude to gay victims was far from satisfactory. In fact some offences

went unreported because it was felt that police would judge the victim and nothing

would be achieved.

The families of Mr Warren and Mr Russell were not pleased with the police response

to their own cases. Mrs Warren could not get police to deal with her son's

disappearance affectively. Mr Russell's family felt somewhat abandoned without

feedback as to the progress or otherwise of their own investigation. Neither family

would have been given the impression that their loved one was important enough to

warrant a proper investigation.

One witness gave an account of approaching the police after his own victimisation

only to be told that the police would not be involved in 'domestics'. He said there

was a commonly held view in the gay community that "If there was a homosexual

assault or a murder it wouldn't get the same privilege as so called heterosexual

assault or murder".

There is no doubt that that was the belief in the gay/lesbian community, hence the

reason for the NSW Police to set up policies and programmes to bridge any gap

between those communities and the operational police.

The same witness who is critical of some operational police acknowledges there are

some hard working and decent officers that do make a difference.

Given the disgraceful investigation into Mr Warren's suspected death and the

completely 'lack lustre' investigation into Mr Russell's demise, it would not be

unreasonable for the gay community to believe that as a group they do not warrant

proper police attention. It is hard for the NSW Police Force to be seen as progressive

and equitable when some officers fail in their duty to the community they are meant

to serve.

Detective Sergeant Page is a member of the same Constabulary and he is a shining

example of how investigations should be conducted and the sensitivity and

compassion that is often needed when dealing with persons who have been

'marginalised' .

As Counsel for the Commissioner of Police, Mr Saidi said in his closing submission:

"The climate which then existed, which was a climate I think no one in society could

really be proud of, and that is the culture of gay hate, a gay hate crime. The Police

Service, whatever defects it may have suffered from during that period, was no more

than a reflection of it (sic) was exhibiting the broader values and principles of the

then society. Much I think to the credit of the Police Service and other government

instrumentalities over the years, rather than being a mere reflection of society's

values, I think it fairly could be said that they're taking affinnative action to indeed

change society's view".

There is no doubt that the NSW Police has made significant improvements to the

many issues raised during the course of this inquest eg it attitude to gayflesbian crime,

case management and proper and timely investigations.

11

There is need, however, for recommendations to ensure the work currently being

undertaken continues.

As Coroner I can only make recommendations that can be implemented by a person

or organisation. 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, through my finding, to regard any victimisation of a

gay man or lesbian as completely abhorrent and not to be tolerated.

No one deserves to become a victim. A lack of judgement or discretion should not

invite brutality, nor should we as a decent society turn away from anyone needing

help and understanding.

Don't think for one moment that this type of crime is only visited on homosexuals.

One man gave evidence of his own brutal attack by a gang of young 'gay bashers'

when he was walking home from a night out with friends. He was not gay but very

much heterosexual. It was simply a matter of him being in the vicinity of North

Bondi, the wrong place at the wrong time.

Young thugs that gang up and visit their hate on any individual deserve to be 'brought

to heel' as quickly as possible.

One witness who had served 12 years for the murder of Mr Rattanajurathapom spoke

of his own victimisation as a child by a friend of the family, a paedophile. He said

"Basically what it was with me, ] was a victim for years, and then one day ] sort of -

you know when you turn into a teenager the honnones kick in, you fill out a bit, you

grow up and, sorry about the language, but] said' Fuck this, ] am never going to be a

victim again No one is ever gunna hurt me again' ] was filthy on the world.

Because] was raped and bashed by a man for years, so therefore] thought, okay this

bloke here was a man he had sex with another man even though it was another

human as a male, so me not having the social skill or the education back then, or the

mentality or whatever to differentiate -] couldn't differentiate between paedophilia

and homosexuality" Of gay men he said "] hated them with a passion. "

When he spent time in prison he made friends with some gay prisoners and realised

that, as he put it "Sexuality doesn't make someone who they are ".

I have deliberately not named civilian witnesses in my finding. These courageous

individuals who had been victimised came forward to tell their stories at inquest.

Unlike many of the 'persons of interest', they were honest and forthright and their

accounts were chilling.

Compare the accounts of a victim and the accounts of the 'suspects'.

The Victim: "They grabbed me and they started to call me names, 'poofter' and all

the rest of it and they just started bashing me and they kept saying to me 'Don't look

at our faces'. And I was actually face down at the time. The best, to my knowledge I

12

remember is trying to protect my face' cause I had an interview the following week"

"them just attacking me, hitting me, kicking me ". " Two main people and I remember

them. They were the ones doing a lot of talking and everyone else in the group was

like standing around watching and I remember the girls, I remember seeing the girls.

Watching and laughing and still to this day it runs through my mind that they could

sit there and do that".

He believes the assault lasted 15 to 20 minutes. They were pulling his shoes off and

his clothes. His earring was ripped out and his signet ring was lost. "They started to

drag me around. I was on the ground and they were literally dragging me. I don't

remember much, I blanked a lot of that part of it out. I remember from when it started,

the bashing and everything started, I don't remember much. I remember at the end, I

remember getting away, I remember running, I remember screaming for help, I

remember the comments coming from the units They had a stick in their hand

and they kept saying that they're -excuse my expression -'shove it up my arse', and

that petrified me even more"

As he was being dragged, one of his assailants said 'I'm going to throw you over the

side" At the time that was said the victim had been dragged to the top of the cliff face.

The victim escaped to his unit where he waited for police and a friend to arrive.

When he was running for his life and screaming for help a voice from a nearby unit

yelled back at him "['m not helping no poofter".

The Offenders:

These are accounts of some of the 'persons of interest' for gay hate related crime.

"I threw a fag off the cliff at Bondi I've jumped on blokes head you wouldn't

believe were always going out bashing fags"

"We were walking jump up and look in the bushes, just see em going for it. Oh

you dirty man. And they would just keep going. 1 went Doh, screamed at them. They

just have been that involved in it they blocked out all the noise. The waves were

heaps big and it was freezing l had my new Boks from America on that day too, 1

had blood all over 'em went up and 1 go Oooo come up and grabbed a

handful of hair and went, Dirty fuckin' maggot He should have gone went off the

cliff that night but he didn't we went down and put a cigarette butt out on his

head".

When asked why he 'bashed fags' one assailant said "Something to do mate. Mate [

made fuckin one, one guy [ bashed [got fuckin 1300.. .he was doing a bank run, bank

run, taking money to the bank. Stopped him, smashed him, fuckin jumped on his head,

went out to his car, looked at his briefcase.. ..do it for the fucking money mate. ['ts

not fun...it's a sport in Redfern Oh it's a fuckin hobby mate. What are you doin

tonight boys? Oh, just going fag bashin "

Further accounts of assault on gay men "Them cunts copped a bad hiding, two of em

did anyway we were jumping off the roof of his car onto his head, mate. His head

was on the gutter"

13

Many of the Marks Park victims that reported to police told of hearing their assailants

threatening to throw them off the cliff face. There is no doubt that at the time of Mr

Warren's and Mr Mattaini' s disappearance and Mr Russell's death that this was a

Modus Operandi of some gay hate assailants. This strongly supports the probability

that Mr Warren, Mr Mattaini and Mr Russell met their deaths this way.

To make a finding that each of these men were victims of homicide, I must be

satisfied to the 'Briginshaw' standard of proof that one or more persons were

responsible for their deaths. That standard of proof is slightly higher than the usual

'balance of probabilities'.

I am comfortably satisfied that I can make the finding of 'foul play' in relation to Mr

Warren and Mr Russell, but I cannot make a finding that Mr Manttaini met his death

at the hands of another person or persons. The persons of interest that may have been

responsible for the deaths of Mr Warren and Mr Russell would have been far too

young at the time of Mr Mattaini' s disappearance in August 1985.

I can however bring in a finding of 'death' for Mr Mattaini, but where and how he

died remains unknown although there is a strong possibility that he died in similar

circumstances to the other men.

FindinJ!s

I find that Ross Bradley Warren died in Sydney on or about 22 July 1989. Whilst

the causea nd manner of death are unknown, I am satisfiedt hat the deceasedw as a

victim of homicide perpetrated by person or persons unknown.

I find that John Alan Russell died at Marks Park, North Bondi between the 22 or

23 November 1989. The cause of death is multiple injuries sustained when he was

thrown from the cliff onto rocks, by a person or persons unknown.

I find that Giles Jacques Mattaini died on or about the 15 September 1985 in

Sydney. The cause and manner of his death remain undetermined as the evidence

before me does not enable me to say.

Recommendations

That the Minister of Police and Police Commissioner:

.Ensure that all Missing Person reports are investigated in a timely and

proper manner

.Ensure that Missing Person cases considered 'suspicious' deaths are to

be referred for criminal investigation

.Ensure that all Missing Persons be reported to the State Coroner after a

reasonable period of time after all routine investigations have been

undertaken

.Undertake a review of the current case management and monitoring

systems to ensure that all investigations are pursued with due diligence

14

..... .

Review procedures in relation to the collection and retention of physical

evidence and exhibits relating to unsolved homicides and any deaths

reportable to the coroner

Review procedures in relation to tracking exhibits sent to other areas for

forensic testing or examination

Consider training Rescue Squad personnel in the use of crime scene

cameras and techniques for securing bodies and exhibits in rock

creviceso r other areasi naccessibleto other police

Review procedures in relation to the recording of possible causes of

death at early stages of any investigation in order to minimise erroneous

or lazy conclusions based on incomplete information

Reinforce the requirements of the Charter for Victims Rights where

Victims of Crime are entitled to be given information concerning their

investigations in a timely fashion, and that all Victims of Crime are to

be dealt with compassionately

Audit outstanding homicides and suspected deaths to ensure

investigations are active and ongoing. Where investigations have stalled

these matters are to be referred to the State Coroner for his

consideration

Reintroduce the Gay Liaison Officers 'in service training' programme

Ensure all Local Area Commanders are aware of 'beats' in their areas

and promote the needfo r crime prevention strategiest o minimise risk

Promote the use of 'Standard OperatingP roceduresfo r Policing Beats'

within each Local Area Command

Develop and implement the 'Beat Usage Reduction and Safety

Improvement Project'

MagistrateJ acquelineM . Milledge

Senior Deputy State Coroner

9 March 2005