Stories from the NSW LGBTIQ hate crime inquiry

An inquiry investigated NSW Police's response to 32 unsolved deaths, suspected to be LGBTIQ hate crimes, from 1970 to 2010. Here are some of their stories.
lgbtiq crime inquiry stories

A high-level inquiry has investigated NSW Police’s response to 32 deaths, suspected to be motivated by LGBTIQ hate crimes, between 1970 and 2010.

Many of the deaths heard in the inquiry are considered “cold cases” — meaning they’ve never been solved.

Here are some of their stories.

Crispin Dye

  • 41-year-old Crispin Dye worked as a manager for the rock band AC/DC.
  • He released a solo album ‘A Heart Like Mine’.
  • In December 1993, he was attacked on Little Oxford Street after a night out drinking with his friends in Sydney’s inner-east and later died in hospital.

The inquiry questioned police over their handling of evidence from the crime scene, most notably DNA found on Dye’s blood-stained clothes, hand-written notes discovered in his pocket, and failures to interview key persons of interest.

The inquiry described the original police investigation as “troubling” and “less than rigorous”, which meant none of the likely attackers were ever arrested for Dye’s death.

It concluded anti-LGBTIQ attitudes were reasonably likely to have played a part in Dye’s death, based on where he was attacked and probable gang involvement.

Wendy Waine

  • Wendy Waine was a transgender woman, sex worker, and well-known entertainer in King’s Cross in the 1980s.
  • Waine’s family described her as someone with a “wonderful sense of humour” who had a wide friendship circle. Witnesses gave evidence she had been in a relationship with a police officer in the months before her death.
  • A friend found her shot dead in her apartment in 1985.

The inquiry said police failed to run DNA testing on hairs found on Waine’s left hand and cigarette butts discovered in her apartment, and said there were “serious concerns” over why police didn’t pursue various lines of inquiry.

Police admitted several documents were “missing” in this case, leaving her case unresolved and open to
many theories.

Ernest Head

  • 44-year-old Ernest Head worked as a clerk with the Corporate Affairs Commission.
  • Friends described him as “good-natured” and “quiet”.
  • In 1976, he was found dead on his apartment floor in Sydney’s inner west.

Head died before the NSW government decriminalised “homosexual acts”. The inquiry concluded there were indicators of anti-LGBTIQ bias among police officers investigating his death.

Police lost a number of key items of evidence in the forensic investigation. Some items found at the crime scene did not undergo DNA analysis.

A man’s fingerprints were also found in Head’s apartment, although technology at the time wasn’t available to identify the suspect.

Richard Slater

  • Richard Slater, 69, lived in Newcastle.
  • In December 1980, he went to a toilet block known as a “gay beat” (a meeting place, typically for hook ups).
  • He had a medical condition causing him to urinate frequently.
  • He was struck from behind with a blunt object, robbed, and died in hospital three days later.

Police had described Slater’s possible homosexuality as a “criminal element” that contrasted to his otherwise “good reputation”. While homosexual acts were still a criminal offence at the time of his death, the inquiry said the police’s language created “negative stereotyping” towards the LBGTIQ community.

Police lost records relating to the investigation and the inquiry identified “significant shortcomings” in record-keeping.

The inquiry recommended a fresh inquest into Slater’s death.

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