Copy pic of Scott Johnson climbing Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire just before his death in 1988. Johnson was found dead at the bottom of a cliff in Manly on Sydney's Northern Beaches in 12/1988 and his death was ruled as a suicide but a new inquest to take place in Sydney on 27/06/2012 will reveal concerns raised by Scott's family that they believe he was the victim of a gay hate crime.
Copy pic of Scott Johnson climbing Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire just before his death in 1988. Johnson was found dead at the bottom of a cliff in Manly on Sydney's Northern Beaches in 12/1988 and his death was ruled as a suicide but a new inquest to take place in Sydney on 27/06/2012 will reveal concerns raised by Scott's family that they believe he was the victim of a gay hate crime.

$1m reward to solve brother’s gay-hate murder

The brother of a man suspected of being murdered in Sydney 30 years ago is adding $1 million out of his own pocket to an existing $1 million reward to try and catch the killer or killers.

Stephen Johnson flew from the US to pledge his own money to help solve what he believes is the gay-hate murder of his brother Scott Johnson at Manly in 1988.

Mr 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 aged just 27.

 

Scott Johnson’s death was originally ruled a suicide before an inquest overturned that finding.
Scott Johnson’s death was originally ruled a suicide before an inquest overturned that finding.

"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.

Scott Johnson’s body was found at the bottom of a cliff in 1988.
Scott Johnson’s body was found at the bottom of a cliff in 1988.

"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."

Scott's death was originally written off as a suicide but his brother Stephen spent decades fighting to have the death reinvestigated and a second inquest in 2012 left an open finding.

NSW Police reviewed Mr Johnson's death as part of a number of suspected gay-hate murders that were in some cases inadequately investigated by police in the 1980s.

Scott Johnson (right) and brother Steve Johnson in 1982, six years before Scott’s murder in Sydney. Picture: Getty Images
Scott Johnson (right) and brother Steve Johnson in 1982, six years before Scott’s murder in Sydney. Picture: Getty Images

A third inquest in 2017 found Mr Johnson fell from the cliff as a result of actual or threatened violence by unidentified persons who attacked him because of his apparent homosexuality.

A specialist investigative team, named Strike Force Welsford, is actively pursuing Mr Johnson's case.

Police Commissioner Mick Fuller and Police Minister David Elliot were also at the announcement by Mr Johnson's brother.

"It has been 31 long years in Scott's family's pursuit of answers, and the dedication to their brother is as inspiring as it is heartbreaking," Mr Fuller said.

"Steve has never wavered in his fight for justice; dedicating his time and efforts to Scott's honour, and 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, so when dealing with cases like this, it's frustrating knowing that a family's pain and suffering could be eased by that someone who knows something coming forward."



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