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$300,000 in reward money offered by Australian police over gay Bondi cliff murders

$300,000 in reward money offered by Australian police over gay Bondi cliff murders

Three rewards of $100,000 each have been announced by the New South Wales Police for information relating to the disappearance and suspected deaths of two gay men and the death of another in Sydney’s eastern suburbs in the 1980s.

Giles Mattaini, a 27-year-old French national living in Bondi, was last seen walking along the coastal walking track at Tamarama on 15 September 1985 by a neighbor.

Ross Warren, 24, a news presenter from Wollongong, was last seen driving along Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, on 22 July 1989 after socializing with friends. His keys were found two days later on rocks below the cliff top at Marks Park, Tamarama, and his car was located nearby. His body has never been found but the Coroner has ruled he is dead.

John Russell, 31, a barman who worked in the eastern suburbs, was last seen drinking with friends at a hotel in Bondi on 23 November 1989. His body was found the next morning at the bottom of the cliff top at Marks Park, Tamarama, suffering injuries consistent with a fall from a cliff.

Russell’s death was dismissed as a suicide at the time despite being found clutching a tuft of someone else’s hair in his hand but the case was later reopened by the Coroner.

Homicide Squad Commander Detective Superintendent Michael Willing said the matters had been reviewed based on the Coroner’s findings that they were suspicious in nature and possibly the result of homophobic hate crimes.

‘We believe there are still people in the community who know what happened to these men and we hope these rewards will be an incentive for those people to come forward,’ Det Supt Willing said.

‘We will follow up each and every piece of information that is provided to us. We are committed to resolving these three cases and being able to provide answers for the families of these three men.’

Speaking on behalf of the families of Mr Warren and Mr Russell, Peter Rolfe from the Survivors After Murder support group said at a press conference on Monday, ‘For the past 26 years we have been haunted by the deaths of Ross, John and Giles, and suspect there are witnesses or others who have information about these matters that are similarly haunted by the knowledge that they hold.’

‘We would implore you to take advantage of the rewards being offered, so that not only may our haunting be resolved but in some small way, your haunting may also be relieved.’

The rewards of up to $100,000 each are for information which leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the deaths of Mr Mattaini, Mr Warren and Mr Russell.

It is known that several youth gangs were targeting gay men in the area around the time and their members may now be in their 40’s and 50’s but police are open to all lines of inquiry.

Police are urging anyone with information in relation to this incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page.

Information provided to the police will be treated with the strictest of confidence.