Simon Knight’s mother has called it a last-ditch effort to find what happened to her gay son.
The NSW Government will front a $100,000 reward for information about Knight’s disappearance on 21 July 2005.
The then 32-year-old suffered from depression but had stopped taking medication. He was last seen at a Surry Hills hotel and had spent the night with an escort from a Kings Cross escort agency.
An inquest was held into Mr Knight’s disappearance in July last year and Deputy State Coroner Dillon was unable to confirm whether Mr Knight was dead, Police Minister Tony Kelly said this week.
Mr Knight’s family deserve to know what happened to their loved one and I hope the community will do what it can to assist police with their inquiries.
His mother, Robyn Conlan, said the case wasn’t taken seriously enough at the time.
"He was 32, gay, taking drugs at the time fairly heavily, and they disappear all the time", she told Sydney Star Observer. "We were very angry, because it was my ex-husband and myself who found where he had stayed the night and the escort that he was with."
After fighting to obtain the police brief, Conlan and Knight’s father, Robert, found police had described their son as "a prostitute -” the first they learned of it.
He just disappeared. He left the house he was sharing, with his bicycle and his camera and withdrew $500 from the bank and went to this hotel, obviously tried to get this particular escort. But there were conflicting stories about the escort and his friend.
She hoped someone might have further information that the reward could entice.
Meanwhile, the mother of 26-year-old Chris Matthews approached Sydney Star Observer saying her son who went missing on 10 January this year on Western Australia’s Vasse Hwy may have been trying to resolve his sexuality.
Homicide Survivors Support After Murder Group founder Peter Rolfe tries to support families like those of Knight and recent Narrabeen beat manslaughter victim Gerard Flemming. Rolfe’s business partner Steve Dempsey was murdered at a beat.
One of the worst things about these cases is how it gets picked up by [the media], it can be tough on the families, he said. Dempsey’s murderer was given life, but Rolfe was concerned the jury took four days to reach a guilty decision. The juries can be biased, he said.
Provocation [as a legal defence] has been removed, but you’ve still got people’s minds. I can only say I’m grateful that there aren’t that many gay murders happening now.
info: Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.