Homicide detectives have revealed they are reviewing the 1989 disappearance of WIN TV newsreader Ross Warren.
Warren’s case will be included in a review of two gay-hate murders and another disappearance on the Bondi cliff-tops.
Warren, 25, disappeared on July 22, 1989.
Police have pleaded for the public’s help to solve many more killings of homosexual men dating back decades.
Homicide squad commander Detective Superintendent Mick Willing said police couldn’t solve some of these cases without the help of the community.
After a Fairfax Media investigation pointed to as many as 80 gay-hate murders between the late 1970s and late ‘90s – almost 30 of which remain unsolved – Superintendent Willing agreed to an interview this week, saying: ‘‘I know I’ve been quiet until this point and there is a reason for that – and that’s because we’re quietly working away on it.’’
Police are reviewing the cases covered by a 10-year-old police investigation, Operation Taradale, which focused on a rampage of gay-hate bashings by youth gangs in the late 1980s and early ’90s.
The cases under review include:
• The murder of John Russell, 31, whose body was found at the base of a cliff at Marks Park at Bondi on November 24, 1989. Police originally dismissed it as an accidental fall but, in 2005, deputy state coroner Jacqueline Milledge – after considering the Taradale evidence – found Russell was thrown to his death from the cliff to the rocks. She called the original investigation ‘‘naive’’ and ‘‘lacklustre’’ and said the loss of a crucial exhibit – the clump of blond hair that Russell was clutching in his hand, indicating he had put up a fight – was ‘‘disgraceful’’;
• Milledge was satisfied that Warren was also murdered and she called the original police investigation ‘‘grossly inadequate and shameful’’;
• The disappearance of Frenchman and Bondi resident Gilles Mattaini, 34, around Marks Park on September 5, 1985, who Milledge found was likely murdered.
The review will also consider the murder of Thai national Krichikorn Rattanajurathaporn, 34, who plunged from a cliff at Marks Park on July 21, 1990. While three teenagers were convicted of that murder – brothers David and Sean McAuliffe and Matthew Davis – Taradale explored potential links with other crimes and other teenage suspects, including the so-called Bondi Boys.
Supt Willing said a lot of good police work had already been done on the unsolved cases and this illustrated ‘‘how bloody hard these cases are’’.
‘‘I can say we quietly commenced a review of Operation Taradale back in 2012 ... I was reticent to come out and say that because generally we like to conduct the reviews of these matters quietly behind the scenes until we decide what to do with them.’’
But the police decision in February to announce a $100,000 reward in the case of Scott Johnson – a 27-year-old American student found at the base of a North Head cliff near Manly in 1988, and originally dismissed as suicide – had rekindled interest in other gay-hate crimes.
‘‘If someone has information – evidence, I should say evidence – of a particular homicide, I want them to come forward,’’ Supt Willing said. ‘‘I really want them to come forward.’’
He stressed: ‘‘A lot of this stuff is hearsay, second-hand. We really need direct evidence about particular crimes.’’