01x00 - The Real Story

Episode transcripts for the TV miniseries "Deep Water". Aired: October 2016 to October 2016.
"Deep Water" revolves around two detectives, who are assigned a brutal m*rder case in Bondi, where they begin to uncover mounting evidence to suggest the k*lling is connected to a spate of unexplained deaths, "suicides" and disappearances throughout the 80s and 90s.
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01x00 - The Real Story

Post by bunniefuu »

[Unsettling soundscape]

Young man 1: He hit him across the head with a sledgehammer.

Yeah, they went up to him and they go, "What are you gay for?"

And the bloke went to say something, and he goes, "Don't talk or you're d*ad."


[Laughing] Hit him across the mouth with a sledgehammer.

Young man 2: There's all poofters up in there! Heaps of them!

I don't know who was there, man, but they hit him with this skateboard.

He just f*ck' screamed like they all do, "Oh, let me go!"

Someone pushed him over the thing, about, like, three, four-foot drop, something like that.

I came across the b*at at Bondi by accident.

I was going for a walk one afternoon and put two and two together.

Lots of men walking around, and it sort of just happened that way.

And then I got to know it.

When I discovered that it was a b*at, the excitement part of it was there.

Also the scary side of this, and this anonymous sort of sex that was happening at the time.

Even though you knew that the b*at was a bit dangerous, it just got your heart pumping.

Even though you didn't even know the names of some people, it was that connection, and with those sounds in the background, the waves.

[Waves crash]

It was idyllic.

People would touch you as they were walking past, or run their hands along, you know...

Start talking to you, which I would never have done.

I would not start a conversation with someone I didn't know at that time.

I was so shy and introverted.

I wouldn't say romantic, but... it was special.

This particular night, I wasn't going to do the b*at.

I was actually going for a jog around the headland.

There's an area where you go down, turn a corner and there's the stairs that go up.

And that's where I... first seen the group of kids.

I had a bad feeling about this.

And they asked me if I had a cigarette.

Got a ciggie, mate?

[Ominous soundscape]

I had nothing on me, not even my keys were on me, because I'd hidden them near my apartment building.

And I thought, "I'm going to go home a different way," and I did.

I didn't come back down that pathway.

The boys were angry, I think, because they kept calling me 'poofter' and all the rest of it.

And I didn't know how they knew that.

And that was a shock for me.

And one of the boys had this stick, and it was the girls that said, "Stick it in his arse. He'll probably like that."

And there was one particular girl that kept saying that.

Brown hair, she had. Green bikini top on.

For me at the time, it just kept going and going and never stopped.

And they said, "Let's take him up, and throw him off, "where we threw the other dude."

I knew what was on that cliff.

I knew how far it was down.

I knew everything about that place.

I'd been there so many times.

I knew if they lost their balance, I could get away, 'cause I could run.

I knew I could run fast enough.

I ran like the wind.

So I ran down and up these stairs, up into another park, and I was screaming out for help.

And I remember the man in this balcony yelled out, "I don't help poofters!"

That was the last I remember about then getting home.

Men sing: ♪ Happy h*m* ♪
♪ We're h*m* ♪
♪ We're having a lovely time today... ♪

Sydney is rapidly becoming, for gays, the San Francisco of the Southern Hemisphere.

Now, this may be a subject which you feel that you or your children would do better to avoid.

If so, please switch off now.

[Don't Leave Me This Way by The Communards]

Tonight I can express what I am in a happy and joyous mood, and I love it.

♪ Don't leave me this way ♪
♪ I can't survive ♪
♪ I can't stay alive ♪
♪ Without your love ♪
♪ No, baby ♪
♪ Don't leave me this way ♪
♪ I can't exist ♪
♪ I would surely miss your tender kiss ♪
♪ So don't leave me this way ♪
♪ Ohhh, baby ♪
♪ My heart is full of love and desire for you ♪
♪ So come on down... ♪

God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.


[Men yell]

Yes, I have. I was bashed last year.

Looked up and there was about six guys surrounding me, started hitting me, calling me a poofter, and...

I've been bashed twice, and some people I know have been m*rder.

Look, in the '80s and '90s there was clearly an epidemic of anti-gay and anti-lesbian v*olence.

It was regular, it was commonplace.

Every weekend in all sorts of areas.

The attitude at a social level was one of great antagonism and a lot of prejudice.

There was a huge amount of h*m*, and that was the norm.

Good heavens.

Told you he had a big nose.

That one.

He was no different than any other kid growing up until probably he got to about 15, 16 years of age, and that's when certain members of the family started noticing a bit of a change in him.

The music.


It was the music, and it was Dad.

Dad's gone, "There's something wrong with that boy," you know?

He'd sit there and everyone else was listening to, you know, we've got Pink Floyd going and we've got AC/DC going, and then he comes home with a Donna Summer album.

"Oh, my God!" Dad goes. "What...?" You know? [Laughs]

Next thing you know, Donna Summer's blaring on a quadraphonic stereo in the main lounge room, you know?

And Tina Turner.

One minute you walk past, everyone else is thumping their head on the table, John's doing the bump, you know?

Well, I think, when I first worked it out...

I thought, "My godfather," you know?

But... that's life.

I mean, you just gotta accept it as is.

I thought, "Oh, well, he's gay. Just keep an eye on him."


He was a son, you know?

The eldest boy, so it doesn't matter whether he's gay or whatever he is.

He's still your kid.

Everyone in the football club knew he was gay. All the parents knew.

Like, talk about sausage on a bread, not just sausage on a bread.

Comes on a plate with a serviette now, you know?

They all knew, and they had no problem with John being around their kids.

He was just John, Pete's brother.

It was an area down at the point, South Bondi, that the gays usually go for, you know, for the walk around there.

So if you're gay and you want a bit of gay stuff... [Laughs] you go down to the point at Bondi and walk around, then you meet these people and do whatever you're gonna do.

The bottom of Marks Park and the gully there, there was no lights.

There's no lights nearly all the way to Tamarama.

The brush up one side and then rock face, no handrails or any of that sort of thing.

You've also got to put up with the fact that the...

A couple of mobs that love to go down and belt the tripe out of 'em.

I always used to let him know that I was concerned about his safety.

That night, he was finishing work at Bronte Bowling Club.

Then he came home, got changed out of his work clothes.

Peter came over and met him and then they were off to the Bondi Hotel.

They were going to have a few drinks there.

All I know is John walked out of the hotel, to the other side of the road.

To my knowledge, it was the last sighting of him.

I was at work down at Double Bay Public School, and I'm standing in the playground when a police car pulled up out the front.

They were looking for the yardsman, who was me, and they said, "We need a quick word with you."

They took me into the principal's office.

And they said, "Look, we'd like you to come and try and identify...

"a body," you know?

They said, "Look, we've found someone, a body, "that we believe is your brother's."

My first question was, "Well, what happened?" You know? And they've gone, "Well, he's been found at the bottom of the cliff at South Bondi. We believe it could be su1c1de."

They drove me into Glebe, and that's when... the world changed.


Man: Take three!

Afternoon. 1:30 news.

I'm going to laugh during this serious story now.

For Thursday, 12 May, '88, runs two minutes, starting in 10 seconds from...

Man: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2...

Good afternoon. Ross Warren with a WIN News Break.



There are people that have got that 'it' factor.

You can't necessarily pinpoint exactly what that 'it' factor is, but Ross Warren had it.

Good evening. Birds were singing and flowers were blooming.

And thanks to the girls at DJs for this one. It's a good one, isn't it He was ambitious, and very, very keen to build a career in an industry that I knew he would succeed in.

I mean, it sounds a little cliché, but I'd say he was a beautiful person.

He was very caring, very giving, very thoughtful of others.

I actually met Ross down at Marks Park.

We were kind of dating casually for a small number of weeks.

And that's when it developed fairly quickly into a good friendship.

Oftentimes, guys who do beats won't go out on the gay scene.

Maybe they're not comfortable with themselves or maybe they don't want other people to know that they're gay.

They might be a little wary about going into a gay bar.

And then for other guys, I think there's a bit of an attraction, it's a bit of a thrill, because of the inherent risk.

And because it's doing something which is forbidden.

He wasn't ashamed of being gay.

What he was ashamed of was when people found out, what their perception would be of him.

And in terms of career, what it would be for him, ultimately.

At work, Ross was completely in the closet.

He couldn't afford to be out back then, because I'm sure there would have been a negative impact on his career.

So Ross went out at, sort of, 10 o'clock that night, left his stuff at my place and... and off he went.

He was probably out for three hours at a bar or two on Oxford Street.

He wouldn't drink and drive.

So I'm guessing he's probably had a couple of drinks during that three or so hours when he's been out.

Come quarter to five or five o'clock, you know, close to his appointed start time on the Sunday, I rang the TV station to see if he had shown up and they said, "No, he hasn't."

And they were obviously quite concerned because he had a job to do.

He was going to be on air presenting the weather.

I was devastated because there was no way he wouldn't turn up for work.

We thought, "Well, what's happened to Ross? Where could he be?"

Because I had met Ross at Marks Park, the first place I thought was, "Well, maybe he's gone there."

His car was sitting right next to the top of the stairs.

His wallet was there.

We just had this awful, horrible, sinking feeling that someone's bashed him or k*lled him.

Went straight to Bondi Police Station, told them what had happened.

I don't think they were too interested.

We went back to Marks Park.

We decided to walk down to the rocks, next to the sea.

When we went down there, we walked around and... we saw his keys.

They were placed in a little pocket where the sea had eroded the wall and they were placed in there.

So they couldn't have been dropped.

You hope that he'll turn up and say, "Oh, I got hit on the head, I didn't know where I was."

Yeah, that's your... You always live in hope.

When they found the keys on the rocks, I knew that it was more than that.

The Ross Warren case is a perfect example.

The guy disappears.

It's painfully obvious that something's gone horribly wrong.

Yet a couple of days later, the detective just says, "The body'll wash up later on. See you later."

Did you think just for a moment it might have been something like a m*rder?

His friends went looking for him.

His friends found his keys.

What did the police do?

The investigator wrote it off as su1c1de, or it was an accident, and that his body would eventually wash up.

He was a gay man at a b*at who went missing at a time when it was known that there was other gay-hate-related crime in the area, and scant regard was given to the fact that he could have been a victim.

I was bleeding. Um...

But my head was throbbing. It was absolutely throbbing. And...

I rang a friend, and she drove all the way in.

She's the one that said to me, "Ring the police." So I did.

I didn't tell the police anything about the gay bit at all.

I thought I was going to get in trouble from the police.

Yeah, I think that it was all about, "This is my punishment for being who I am."

I just wanted to drop the whole thing, just stop it, no more.

The police told me to come to the station. I had to give this statement.

I remember sitting in the waiting room, and then they asked me to come in, and they sat me in a cell.

I remember the big bars at the front.

I can swear, when I was in the cell, I could hear them talking about me.


Like, I knew that the other police officers were laughing at me and making fun of me, the younger police officers.

I was gay, so I was like a second-class citizen.

The police actually, you know, took it upon themselves to put him in a cell and make him wait there before he was interviewed.

I mean, what were they thinking?

And they were giggling and laughing about this while they were at it, and he is a 22-year-old, timid, you know, frightened man.

And then I had to go and look at photographs.

And everything was hurried.

It wasn't the end of their shift, but I was hurried.

This was something that they had to do, but they didn't really want to do it is how I felt.

I call him suspect one.

He was tall.

I still say about 18, 17...

18 years of age at the time.

Blondish hair, blondish-brownish, but young.

And he is, you know, to this day, very determined, this is the man he alleges, you know, said, "Let's throw him over, like, where we did the other one."

He was solid on his identification.

I don't understand why you don't hold someone to account if you've got a very good description and identification from a victim.

I don't know why at the time that he reported and identified who it was that was responsible for nearly k*lling him... more wasn't done.

David: Working on Bondi, you got to see lots of people, so I knew the group.

One of the biggest worries I was having is because... they could find me.

Yeah, I was worried that they were gonna find me.

Pete: They ushered me into a little room with a square table.

You know, there was a window there with a bifold grey blind on it, and then they said, "Well, okay, are you ready?"

They pulled the curtain back and they folded back the blanket, and I saw John, with half his face missing, from where he'd hit the rocks.

And he was still wearing the jumper.

And that... and I said, "That's him."

And then they just pulled the blanket back over his face, shut the little curtain, and said, "Okay, mate, you're all done.

"Where can we drop you?"

They were going through Bondi Junction.

I said, "Oh, f*cking, you know, just let me out..."

They were carrying on like it was a normal day's work, just having a chat.

They were both in the front, you know, chatting away.

And I said, "Look, just drop me here."

When he knocked at the door, I had to open the door and go, "Mate..."

He's gone, "Oh, we ready to go?" That's what Dad's like, you know.

"Where's John?"

"Mate, best you come inside and sit down."

That's right. Peter answered the door and said John was d*ad.

And that's how Dad found out.

Hell of a shock. [Chuckles]

He just went weak at the knees. White.

As you would, you know?

At first, when it first happened, so many things went through the mind, you know?

The police saying su1c1de.

I thought, well, he's a victim of either gay-bashing or robbery.

That's what I thought it was.

Certainly it was never going to be su1c1de.

You look at that case, you look at the facts of that case, and you go, "How could anyone even imagine that that was su1c1de?"

You know, there was a man who had no reason to commit su1c1de.

He'd just inherited a large sum of money.

I think it was more that they just weren't understanding of the fact that just because you were gay and you were found at the bottom of a cliff doesn't necessarily mean that you take your own life because you, you know, you don't want to be gay anymore.

You've got a guy who's so looking forward to going up, getting his inheritance, building a property, going up to live with Dad, to start a whole new thing-o.

He had plans. Trawl the bowels of the earth to find out a reason why John would want to commit su1c1de.

Never got any information much off the police at all.

What Bondi police did was just diabolical.

There was no compassion, nothing.

It was, "Right, okay, we've found your brother.

"You identify him. Then go away."

That's what it was. "Go away. It's done now. We'll get back to you if we need you."

And they never got back.

All we got was a letter saying there's an inquest and come to that.

And we went to that, and, boom, seven minutes later, we're standing out on the street knowing no more than what we did when we walked in the building.

It left more questions than any answers.

The perception of, particularly the gay community, that the police aren't going to treat them properly, is probably true.

I think that they have had that perception.

I think there was a very strong, um... cultural attitude in the police service then, about what was a worthy victim and what wasn't.

Remember that h*m* decriminalised in 1984.

So you've still got a very deeply inculturated attitude that says gay men are criminals.

They're deviants, they're perverts and they're criminals.

They're poofters.

Woman: Yeah? What's wrong with them?

Um, I hate 'em.

So has anyone ever been poofter-bashing?

Um, I know that bloke there has, but...

Oh, some of my friends do, but I don't.

Hate 'em.

Yeah? What's wrong with them?

Just don't like 'em, how they act and shit.

They must have some disorder in their mental minds, right?

Because otherwise they wouldn't be having sex with other men.

Bash 'em. They're poofters. Hate their guts.

Do you have sex for pleasure?

I haven't had sex.

[Yells indistinctly]

One of the things that was really obvious was, in my work with the young people, was that they thought the police supported them.

Like, a lot of them would say, "Well, the cops aren't gonna do anything.

"It's about poofters."

So, you know, the kids had an attitude that said gays were the lowest thing on the social ladder, and so it was okay for them to bash 'cause the gay men weren't going to report to police, 'cause they were scared of police.

And if they did, the police weren't gonna do anything 'cause it was just gay men.

You know, I remember myself one time when I was probably 13, 14, you know, following the group of boys down there with my cousins, you know, older girl cousins.

I sort of hung around and stuck with the girls.

But we all sort of stood back while the guys went looking to bash someone.

It was something to do, but it was, you know, a sport, a regular thing, you know, like, meeting up, the night was boring, "Okay, let's go gay-bashing."

I think for me at the time, it was just peer pressure.

It was just wanting to be... Just being a follower.

I think it's just that attitude that, in them days, it was like, you know, it's just so wrong.

A man shouldn't be with another man.

It's disgusting, it's not normal, it's unnatural.

"Look at that poofter, look at that f*g," you know?

"I'd like to smack him in the mouth."

The toilet block at Alexandria Park was a known gay b*at, and directly opposite is the Cleveland Street High School.

When I first went there, I was somewhat concerned about that toilet block.

It was directly opposite the playing fields of the school itself.

I noticed there were these... quite flashy modern cars turning up there, and well-dressed males getting out and going into the toilet, and all sorts of situations of sexual gratification and so on.

So I can only describe that toilet block, to put it bluntly, as a cesspit of moral turpitude, and that's being kind.

Men would leave their phone numbers on the wall, you know, "call me for sex" or whatever.

So, you know, the guys who would go gay-bashing would go there, 'cause they knew that at certain times of night, you would find either gay men there looking for sex, or they would call one of the phone numbers on the wall and try and lure them there to the park.

Richard Johnson was lured to a toilet block in Alexandria Park, which is opposite the high school.

There was a group of young people from the high school who were between 15 and 17, and they stomped on him until they burst his liver.

He got massive internal bleeding and died.

Now, these are a bunch of teenage boys.

You know, they were kids from Cleveland High, Cleveland Street High.

They were kids.

It was like a rite of passage for young men with emerging sexualities.

And because, you know, because some of those young men might have been gay, they were suppressing their h*m*.

And because some of them, obviously, the majority of them were heterosexual, they were reinforcing their heterosexuality and their fear of h*m*.

Young man 1: You're a sick puppy, mate.

Tell me some good stories, ya c**t.

Young man 2: About f*g-bashing? It's something to do, mate.

Mate, I made f*ck' one...

One gay I bashed, I got f*ck' 1,300.

Do it for the f*ck' money, mate. It's still fun.

It's a sport in Redfern. It's a f*ck' hobby, mate.

What are you doin' tonight, boys? Just goin' f*g-bashin'.

When Richard Johnson was m*rder, it was a shock to the students at the school 'cause they knew a lot of those kids.

And... they were horrified by the fact that they'd been charged with a m*rder... but they were also sad that it had happened, and a lot of them felt it was the gay man's fault.

Because he was gay and, you know, he just happened...

If he hadn't have been gay, he wouldn't have been there and he wouldn't have been m*rder.

I specifically remember a lot of sympathy for the perpetrators as well.

I could imagine that, you know, possibly some of the guys that were there were just followers and wanting to be, to look, you know, wanting to look macho, wanting to fit in.

I felt sympathy with the perpetrators and the person who was m*rder because I think that the actions of those young people were informed by social attitudes that were wrong, and it was sad that they had to grow up in a world where... they felt that someone's sexuality was wrong.

They were charged with the offence at various degrees, and then trials were set down for later in the year to be dealt with.

But meanwhile, these kids were still at the school.

Now, there was certain pressure put on me to get rid of them out of the school.

Now, I resisted that. The parents of some of these boys virtually begged me to have them stay at the school in so far as they could be under some form of supervision.

So I had them stay at the school.

"They're just poofters and gafs," was the word they used, being 'f*g' backwards.

"Who gives a damn," and "Yeah, but they're child molesters."

So they had a huge amount of stereotypes, and it was like no one ever questioned them.

It was like, "This is true, we know it's true, "and no one's ever told us it's not true."

Because I think one of the things for teachers in that era as well was that if you intervened and said something about kids with that attitude, then they'd turn around and go, "Why are you saying that, sir? Is that 'cause you're a poof?"

Mr Tonks was actually my sex education teacher in high school.

But I remember him being a teacher that everyone liked, you know?

He was sort of cool, and, you know, got on with all the kids.

Wayne Tonks one day was taunted by this boy in the playground about h*m*, using the term 'f*g' and so on.

And Wayne Tonks came to me very, very distressed.

So I got hold of this boy.

I sent him home with a view to having him return in four days time, but he didn't return to the school.

He elected to leave, and I understand that he was one of the boys involved in the Rich Johnson affair.

Shane: Wayne Tonks was quite a reserved sort of person, but an exceptionally good teacher.

He was such a reliable man.

Always on time for school, and, I might add, he always used to be impeccably dressed.

I knew he was gay, but he wasn't openly gay, no.

I didn't have a very close relationship with Wayne because I think he was frightened of my being gay, and openly gay.

And Wayne never, sort of, let's say, came out about it.

As a matter of fact, I harboured a suspicion that he was a bit scared that I was going to find out he was gay.

But I knew he was gay, but his private life, that was nothing whatever to do with me.

And I tried at one point to talk to him about being gay and he didn't want to know me, because he was too frightened to talk to me, because he might have been identified as a gay man... in that context.

Which was very isolating and sad for him.

I was alerted by one of the staff that Wayne hadn't turned up.

I rang his home. There was no answer.

I thought, "It's totally out of character, "and I've got to get to the bottom of it."

And I rang the police.

I was working as a detective sergeant at Chatswood Police Station, and we received a call to go to Wayne's home.

The home appeared to have been ransacked.

Telephone cable to the unit had been cut.

I recall there was a large ceramic piggy bank which had been smashed beside Wayne himself.

His ankles, his knees, were tied securely with green commercial grade adhesive tape.

His hands were bound to a degree that the circular shape of the taped material on his hands was about the size of a rockmelon.

Excessive. There was no way that this man was going to break free or to free himself somehow from this tape.

But of course his eyes and his mouth were also encased in this tape.

And a plastic bag had been placed over his head.

[Sniffles] Yeah, something that... something that I probably will never forget, yeah.

I felt shocked because it was, like, one, that I didn't know that he was gay in the first place, so there was that, but it was also, like, it was sad, shocking and sad.

What surprised me most was that the young people weren't aware that it was illegal to bash a gay man, and that you would go to jail for doing that.

We've had a m*rder that you know had been committed by some of the kids and ex-kids from the school, and suddenly you've got a teacher at the same school who's m*rder.

We were very concerned about whether any of the kids had been involved in that.

Young man: We were just gonna walk by him, and he goes, "I know that poofter, man. I've belted him before."

They'd belted him at Moore Park, when they was up the Cross before, and took his wig.

Pissed in it and chucked it in a tree.

That was one of the funniest days, man.

Because of the fact that some of those students were students from the school and possibly taught by Wayne, they became suspects, and the similarities in relation to the Johnson m*rder were quite unique.

I know that, from interviewing his friends, he would never go to Oxford Street.

He was concerned that, being a school teacher, that students may see him, put two and two together.

So, in that sense, he was very guarded.

[Electronica-style music]

I tried to, like, avoid the subject altogether, so, you know, if it was, like, brought up, you know, "Oh, look at that person, you know, they're..."

"He looks like a poof," or whatever, then I wouldn't say anything, and then I would quickly try and change the subject.

I think I still felt at that time like, "I can change this,"

'cause it was, like, to me, there's no way I could be gay.

When I realised that I was attracted to, you know, men, you know, I struggled with that myself, because I thought, you know, how could I ever come out and be gay?

Like, my family won't accept me, the people around me, the community.

No-one will accept me. There's no way I can be gay.

There was fear in knowing that if I came out to be gay, then I could be attacked, do you know what I mean?

You're talking about an era where there was no sort of tolerance for difference or different ways of being.

It was, like, a pretty narrow stereotype of what masculinity should be like.

Anything outside of that was pretty quickly squashed, and I think that also was a major thing for those kids, and for young people generally, is, like, you've gotta be macho.

And how do you be macho?

Well, a really good way of proving how macho you are is to bash a poofter.

The att*ck on Mr Johnson was described as "the most severe bashing a man could receive without the use of w*apon. He was kicked and jumped on, causing horrendous injuries."

Reporter: Two of the young men shed tears as their sentences were handed down.

Police had relied on shoe-print evidence against one of the men.

A pattern of bruising on the victim's skull was matched to these joggers.

Families in court throughout the trial left in tears.

The judge found all four young men were motivated by peer group pressure, one of the young boys trying to shake off his image as a sissy.

All were angry at the conduct of h*m*, but the judge said that was no excuse.

Every member of the community was entitled to the full protection of the law.

Everyone was a loser, and there should have been more...

There should have been more sympathy and more thought about how terrible it was for Richard Johnson, because it was a brutal, terrible m*rder.

But, you know, at that time, there were almost 30 unsolved gay m*rder in Sydney.

And there were a whole lot of as*ault and bashings that nobody ever heard about.
Young man 1: I wish I would have done more to that f*ck' Johnson bloke.

If I'm gonna get 10 years, two kicks, then I'm gonna f*ck' get 10 years for it, five years for each kick.

Young man 2: Heaps funny. Used to love how they screamed, eh?

Got heaps of clippings at home, man, about... from all the poofters that we bashed.

Young man 1: Who pushed him? You?

Young man 2: No, not me. I was going over to pick up his skateboard.

I was gonna hit him again.

Young man 1: What did you say when you first seen him?

Young man 2: I wasn't there when they said something to him first off.

I was coming down from the top, from the lookout, and one of the boys said, "You're a poof, eh?"

And I've come running down the stairs and I just looked around, mate, they were punching into him.

There really was a phenomenon, [stuttering] an incredibly violent period in our history when kids, essentially, mainly kids, were running around terrorising, beating and occasionally k*lling gay men.

[Siren wails in the distance]

Paul: The Moore Park b*at was huge.

It had lots of sort of tree cover in parts of it.

Location-wise it was perfect, because it was close to the Golden Mile, as it was called once.

The Golden Mile was a name that was given to Oxford Street.

There was just so many gay venues along there.

[Electronic music]

I ended up at the Taxi Club, because the Taxi Club went 24 hours a day.

It was the last place that was open.

I was walking home and I was walking along South Dowling Street and I thought "Oh, wonder what's happening across the road tonight. I'll just go over and have a... have a wander round through the undergrowth of the b*at."

And they weren't so much a meeting place as just a casual sex place.

It wasn't as though you were looking for true love and happiness there.

You were just there to probably get your rocks off. [LAUGHS]

My plan was not necessarily to use the b*at.

It was just on my way home.

So it was a location that I would drive past on my way home every night that I worked in that area.

I certainly wasn't doing it for the risk element.

I was just doing it for the quick encounter.

It was a very clear night, but it was very cold.

So generally speaking, I would expect nothing much to happen.

However, as I drove up there, I did see one car driving very fast.

Someone went to the boot and opened it, and reached in and handed out planks of wood to everyone that had got out of the car.

And then they ran like a mob into the park.

Wow, that's pretty scary.

I'm gonna stay here and see what happens.

[Unsettling music]

I wasn't there for very long, and I heard someone say, "There's one, get him."

I was doing a really good job. [Laughs]

Except I tripped on the other side of South Dowling Street and fell into the gutter.

They caught up to me, and that's when they bashed me.

Once I was on the ground, I knew I was in a lot of trouble.

I was absolutely terrified, angry that I couldn't...

I didn't know what to do.

[Engine starts]

I started the car and turned my headlights on in the hope that my presence there would stop them.

The last thing I remember before I probably passed out was I saw some car lights coming towards me.

I thought, "Oh, that's good. Someone has seen me.

"I'm going to be saved. I'm safe. They'll go away."

And they didn't stop, so I slowly drove towards them with my headlights on high beam, and once again, they didn't stop.

I drove past. No change in their behaviour.

And then I did a U-turn over the median strip and I pulled up behind the assailant's car and got some pad and paper, and I wrote down the registration number of their car.

I drove off rapidly, thinking, "What can I do? Call triple zero."

Drove back as fast as I could to see if I could find any evidence of what had happened.

I was imagining that I would find... a guy beaten to a pulp lying in the gutter.

By the time I got back there, there was no one around.

I came to in St Vincent's emergency department on a stretcher from an ambulance.

I was sort of semiconscious.

I knew I was in hospital, I was safe.

'Cause I think I kept coming and going out of consciousness.

I remember there were doctors there, there was nurses.

I vaguely remember a policeman in the emergency department.

And I was really, really bruised and battered badly.

I was in hospital for six days.

I was lucky to wake up in St Vincent's and not at the bottom of a cliff at Tamarama, so I thought of myself as one of the lucky ones.

I never saw the police again.

I vaguely remember a policeman being in the emergency department, but they didn't come back to see me after that.

Some weeks later, Paul gets a call from Fred Miller, who had just been appointed as the first police gay liaison officer, who informed him that the numberplate of the car he had reported was in fact an unmarked police car.

I received a phone call telling me that the registration number of the car I had given them was the registration number of an unmarked police car.

I was incredibly angry.

I was absolutely shocked, fearful, as I was also aware of stories of intimidation where police had been in the f*ring line over a situation like that.


So Paul was called in to what he describes as a very high level meeting at College Street headquarters.

I was fearful of what an interview like that might look like.

So we met in the lobby and Fred accompanied me up to a very high level in the police centre.

And we were ushered into a very large suite.

My feeling was that they were very senior police officers because they had gold braid and epaulets, and the scale of the office was such that I could only imagine a very, very senior police officer would have an office like that.

Coppers are pragmatic.

Catching you with a registration number is pretty compelling.

It wouldn't have taken them long, about 30 seconds, to find out who was in the car that night.

There's no question. No question at all.

New South Wales Police love documentation.

Back in those days, every car had a diary, and you wrote it in where you'd been, what you'd done... time, date, place.

The police asked me to recite the story, and when I got to the part about seeing the guys with planks of wood hitting the guy on the ground, the policeman interrupted me and said, "Can you just visualise in your mind's eye what you saw that night?"

And he said, "Can I show you something?"

And he came back with a police baton and held it in front of me.

And I immediately realised that I had seen police batons being used.

They told me that the police car and the officers involved that night belonged to a trouble-sh**ting squad.

At the time, there were these unofficial groups of police.

They would go out in plain clothes, unmarked cars, and they were known as the hoodlum patrols.

And the idea is that they would, you know, clean up the streets of hoodlums.

Three separate officers have come to me to tell me that the hoodlum patrols were known for poofter-bashing.

It was really smartly handled.

They've come in, they've won their trust and confidence.

These guys have met some very senior coppers.

Lots of gold braid, lovely view of the harbour, and they've thought, quite reasonably, that this matter is being looked after and the coppers responsible will be dealt with.

But they weren't.

Woman: July 15, 1998.

Dear Sir, we have been advised by the Coroners' office to contact your department.

As it is now nine years since Ross disappeared, we feel it is time for a coroner's inquest to close the case.

We know that there is no way he's still alive, and the family feel it should be official so we can put the matter to rest.

Missing Persons Branch, NSW Police Headquarters.

Please find enclosed a copy of my letter sent to your department in July.

As I have not yet had a reply, I am hoping that it was received and some action will be taken soon...

Dear Sir/Madam, please find following a copy of a letter sent to your department in July this year...

Dear Sirs, we apparently have to wait for some action from your department for a coroner's inquest...

I am enclosing copies of earlier correspondence.

I would like to know why there has been no action on my request...

I understood that a person was presumed legally d*ad after seven years...

Please do something as 10 years is far too long.

26 April, 2000.

It is 11 years this July since my son disappeared.

I realise to the police that he is just another statistic, but he was a very important part of our lives, and we want to put the matter to rest.

An early reply is anticipated.

Yours sincerely, Mrs Kay Warren.

What struck me was, attached to her letter was all these other letters that she'd provided previously asking for the matter to be closed.

And it just struck a chord that you've got a parent, they just want some answers and they've been writing and writing for years.

I think that motivated me to have a look at it and see if I could, you know, give Kay some answers.

With the Ross Warren case, I went back to basics and I just treated it almost as a fresh investigation.

We were told that the matter had been reported to the coroner, that a brief of evidence had been given to the Missing Persons Unit.

We went to all those places.

There was no such handover of documents.

There was no record of Missing Persons having any record of him being missing.

Everything the detective who was in charge of the matter said he did could not be verified, even to the point where he said he called out PolAir and the Water Police, there were no records of that.

Once I started to have a look at the Ross Warren case, I spoke with an ex-workmate of mine, Steve McCann, and he pointed me in the direction of the death of John Russell.

So, Ross Warren and John Russell both met their demise at Marks Park.

So, Ross Warren has gone missing, John Russell was found deceased at the bottom of a cliff.

There were some interesting things about the John Russell case that didn't look typical of a su1c1de.

The positioning of his body going off the cliff I found unusual, and I later got an opinion from a forensic pathologist.

The position that he was found was his head was facing the cliff and his feet were away from the cliff.

I'd be concerned that there'd been some intervention by some other people to make him twist and turn in that way.

Plus the fact that he was found a fair way out from the cliff would also make me concerned that there'd been some pushing element, so he'd got some velocity up, to go out the distance that he did, away from the cliff.

There was the fact that there were some hairs that were in his hands.

When I first saw that there was hair stuck to the back of John Russell's hand, I...

I was excited. I thought, "You know what?

"I'm gonna dig, I'm gonna dig hard, I'm gonna try and find this."

So whose hairs were they?

They didn't look to be his, and to me raised the distinct possibility that he was involved in a scuffle at the top of the cliff, grasped in some way, he managed to grab some hairs out of somebody's head and was thrown over the cliff.

If he had hair in his hand, where is the hair?

That disappeared.

So once that disappeared... there was just no way they could identify anybody else.

Evidence was lost, and did anybody care?

The clothing might have contained some valuable evidence.


You don't know until you look.

I said, "Well, what about the clothes?"

Because the stuff was returned in the box to Dad.

We had no idea at that time it had all been washed.

By washing it, they got rid of any stuff in the clothing that could possibly have identified who did it.

Unfortunately, that initial investigation was quite deficient.

They've got his clothes, they've got hair samples.

What do they do with it?

Nothing, apart from whack it in with a bit of Omo and hand it all back.

Then they lose the hair sample.

They were old generation coppers, most of them.

So to say they're h*m* would just be stating the bleeding obvious, because that's the way people were.

There was no shortage of suspects.

We had multiple gangs that were operating around Bondi in the late '80s and early '90s, and the gangs didn't appear to be territorial.

You know, it'd be okay for a g*ng out of area to come in and bash gays.

So we had three juveniles who were convicted of k*lling a Thai national by the name of Kritchikorn p*rn, July 1990, at Marks Park.

He's a gay man. It's a gay b*at. They're armed, they've got w*apon.

And they just start swinging into them.

There was a g*ng of eight that were charged with the death of a gay man in Alexandria.

We know from covert surveillance that was done they would also come over to Marks Park and target gay men.

Young man 1: I threw a f*g off the cliff at Bondi.

We were always goin' out bashin' f*g.

Young man 2: We were walking, jump up and look in the bushes, just see 'em going for it.

Oh, you dirty man! And they would just keep going.

I went, "Whoa!" Screamed at them.

They just have been that involved in it they blocked out all the noise.

Dirty f*ck' maggot.

He should have gone and went off the cliff that night, but he didn't.

We went down and put his cigarette butt out in his head.

Steve Page came to see me and said, "Look, I'm really concerned that there's a pattern here, and for all we know, some of these kids could know each other, or, you know, are they all part of the one g*ng or are there different gangs who kind of know each other and have a bit of overlap or whatever?"

So he was quite bravely pulling out old cases where he thought that police had missed the issue of what something was really about, and therefore, you know, called it a su1c1de or, you know, an accidental death when in fact it was far from that.

We needed to look at David McMahon's encounter with these people to try and work out whether the same people that committed offences against him were responsible for these other ones.

David McMahon, he's dragged along the walkway till positioned vertically above where John Russell's met his death.

And offenders have said to him words to the effect of, "We'll throw him off where we threw off the other one."

It really... The penny dropped.

I think the similarities between the David McMahon as*ault and the death of John Russell, I think the standouts are the Bondi boys.

David worked in a restaurant down at Bondi.

He was a Bondi local.

These were local kids that he would probably see every second day.

He would have known them well.

He was adamant that it was the Bondi boys that grabbed him, that dragged him along that path, and they tried to throw him off that cliff.

That picture resonates in my head, and that's how I know it was him.

It was him that hit me the most.

He was going to throw me off a cliff.

I think Steve was right on the money as far as identifying who was responsible, absolutely.

He couldn't have got any closer.

But in terms of being able to find objective evidence that was going to be able to support that in the criminal justice system, I think we got close, but not close enough.

The Deputy Coroner has slammed NSW Police for not properly investigating the deaths of three gay men in Sydney in the 1980s, describing their lack of action as shameful and inadequate.

She said to describe it as an investigation would be to give it a label it simply doesn't deserve.

Reporter: 15 years after their deaths on the cliffs of South Bondi, justice at last for Russell and WIN Television presenter Warren, whose body was never found.

Deputy State Coroner Jackie Milledge praised Detective Sergeant Steven Page for exposing what she called the appalling, disgraceful and lacklustre conduct of the initial investigations.

If we managed it a lot better back then, we wouldn't have been giving evidence before a coroner, it would've been before a jury.

It was important for the families and for us, all of us, to know that these deaths weren't accidental.

That these deaths weren't as a result of su1c1de.

There was nothing to suggest su1c1de.

There wasn't a scintilla of evidence in either one of these to suggest that these men had taken their own lives.

But it was important for us to say, "These are unsolved homicides."

And they remain open.

I hope this isn't the end.

I hope someone picks it up and comes forward, gives us what we're after, and we put the offenders before the courts.

It's clearly a huge disappointment to Steve Page and the others involved that they haven't got...

That no one's been charged with those particular crimes and no one's been convicted.

And that's why those guys keep rolling up to tell this story, because they're hoping that one day someone who knows...

And people do know.

Many people out there know who k*lled these people, and the more they tell this story, someone is going to get guilty enough, is just going to find a bit of, you know, soul and tell the truth.

The whole inquest was all about denial.

Nobody goes in there and puts their hand up and just says, "Well, right, nail me again for m*rder."

They were all doing their very level best to keep their cards as close as they possibly could to their chests, and, you know, protect themselves.

One thing that I learnt from going back and reinterviewing the killers, the three that were involved in the m*rder of Kritchikorn p*rn in Bondi and Richard Johnson at Alexandria, there was a wide variety of motives, and there also a wide variety of remorse.

You know, some of them moved on... they got jobs, they got families, they had kids.

Others... others not so much.

You know, they had... almost had no soul.

They had no remorse, and if you look 'em in the eyes, there's just nothing there.

You just know that they're evil and they're going to stay evil.

[Rock music plays]

Young man 1: It f*ck' scares me, mate, 'cause, you know, the next one, if we get done for another one, man, end up with life.

Young man 2: Yeah, I know. f*ck.

All those unsolved m*rder out there.

Yeah, this other one, that was in 1989.

What, our one?

Ours was in 1990.

Yeah, but he crawled home and died in a coma.

That other bloke, that was in the f*ck' paper.

Yeah. How'd he die?

He's home. He just...

Bled to death.


They reckon somewhere along the line someone s*ab him with a screwdriver.

f*ck, they're f*ck' idiots.

And they put all this shit on us.

We're in enough shit.

When I finished with Taradale, I was happy with what we achieved.

I thought we demonstrated what good looks like for gay hate crime.

Unfortunately, that wasn't to be the case.

The death of Scott Johnson came out of nowhere.

And in many respects, we're back to where we were right at the start, where there's less than complete investigations of gay hate crime.

So, Scott was my younger brother.

He was two and a half years younger than I am, and my closest friend.

He was the smart one in the family, by a lot.

He was a real prodigy in mathematics.

We liked to hike together, we liked to read Plato together.

We were quite nerdly.

We would computer program together.

He was a very shy guy.

Even with me, he had trouble talking about something like this relationship that he had.

So he was kind of stuttering and stammering and finally I said, "Is she pregnant?"


And he said, "She's a he."

It floored me.

Somebody that I knew as well as I knew Scott, and I wouldn't have guessed that he was gay.

So we spent pretty much the rest of the summer talking about it.

I was in California and I got a message on my answering machine from Scott's partner that said, "It's urgent that you call."

I called his partner, and he said Scott's body had been found at the bottom of a cliff.

And... my life fell apart.

When I came the first time to Manly and spoke to the constable that recovered my brother's body, he was intransigent about doing an investigation.

I felt he had already made up his mind that my brother went up there, took off his clothes and jumped.

What I didn't know is why he would be up on these cliffs naked.

His body was found naked.

The coroner decided what the investigator told them it was, which was a su1c1de.

It's hard to describe what it's like not knowing what happened to your loved one.

I didn't accept su1c1de.

It was just a question mark.

And I eventually had three kids.

They all wondered what happened to their brilliant uncle.

Their brill...

Their brilliant gay uncle.

Two of my daughters are gay.

It has always been very important for them to know what happened to Scott, but I couldn't tell them.

He was found at the bottom of a cliff naked and d*ad.

And when I received this news, I crawled up in a ball and I cried all day.

Similar to the Bondi area, there was multiple gangs operating around Manly and the Northern Beaches that were involved in gay hate crime.

So when I learned about the Bondi killings, the first question... was the area where Scott died a gay b*at?

And I didn't know whether it was a gay b*at, so I ended up hiring an investigative journalist, Dan Glick.

Your first job is to find out if this place was a b*at or not, and your second job is to find out if there were any other incidents of v*olence in the Northern Beaches.

So the Northern Beaches are separated by the Harbour Bridge.

Find out more about what happened.

Because he was convinced that there hadn't been any kind of an investigation into his brother's death.

You know, be calling him every day saying, "This is, like, astounding stuff."

Like, the first guy I talked to said it was a b*at.

"You wouldn't believe it, this guy got s*ab up there. And I just talked to this guy who described how the b*at works. These guys got arrested for 40-something counts of as*ault, and this beach was three, four miles away from where Scott died."

So it wasn't hard to establish that it was a gay b*at.

Since then we have learned that it was a very popular gay b*at.

We've talked to many men who used the b*at in the '80s who said that people knew about this b*at around the world.

It was a famous, dramatic b*at which, on a sunny Saturday afternoon, would be alive with 20 or 30 men, some of whom would be naked, courting each other.

And you might sunbake.

It was extraordinary to think that the police didn't know that this was taking place just a mile and a half from the police station.

Everyone knew about it.

The remarkable thing about the Scott Johnson death is that this denial at North Head, particularly Blue Fish Point, where the incident happened, wasn't a gay b*at.

What a load of bullshit!

Part of the daily routine of a policeman is to get in the car and drive around.

Policemen are like anyone else in the community.

They like a place with a nice view.

Manly has plenty of nice views.

North Head, you might go there once or twice in a shift, and you'd drive round and you'd see cars there at night.

And provided nothing terribly obvious was going on, you'd just let them go to it. It was a lovers' lane. Gay men met there.

Everyone knew it was a gay b*at.

Dan: We got a tip from a man who was part of a team of bashers, and he described himself as the lure who would approach a gay man and kind of wink and nod and take him off in the bushes where his mates were waiting for him, and they'd bash and they'd steal their money.

Like Bondi, they failed to look at local incidents.

And there have been incidents up and down the Northern Beaches involving as*ault on gay men for years.

We made an appointment with the head of the unsolved homicide unit, and he sat down and said, "Right, so what happens now is that I've got a stack of 700 unsolved homicides, and this one goes in the bottom. And in three to five years, we'll take a look at it."

And obviously we were quite appalled.

And we said, "Yeah, but you don't understand. This never has been investigated, so maybe you guys could take a look at it."

Six months later, he got back to us and said that they had determined that there was a zero solvability index on my brother's case, that it couldn't be solved, and so they weren't going to work on it.

And furthermore, it wasn't a gay b*at.

So we were back where we started.

Even after an open finding, even after all the research we had done.

We had spent seven years working on this, and still we got the stonewall from the New South Wales Police.

We were met by that team with hostility from the beginning.

They were indignant that they were forced to work on this case.

They reluctantly went through the materials that we had amassed.

We had 50 or 60 persons of interest that could be talked to, and they systematically went through the list and eliminated all of them.

So we've got one person of interest who's involved in the bashing of men at toilet blocks which we know to be gay beats.

The guy's got a tattoo of a grim reaper, and the alarm bells are sounding for me, but apparently they haven't sounded for the investigators in that matter, and they don't appear to have given him, you know, a second look.

Rather than go back and investigate it again and get it right, they thought, "No, we'll just put a lid on it now."

And the New South Wales Police will never admit being wrong, but they will go to elaborate lengths to make sure they can say they were right, and that's what happened in this case.

More effort has gone towards chasing a, you know, the theory of su1c1de as opposed to pursuing the theory of foul play.

Do you accept now that the initial investigation into the death of Scott Johnson back in 1988 was flawed?

Not at all.

It was to the standard of the day. It was accepted by the coroner then, and there's still evidence and information that Scott may have suicided.

I haven't found anything that completely eliminates that as a possibility.

It's been crazy how adversarial it has been, because all you have is a man who lost his brother under, at best, mysterious circumstances, and at worst, nefarious circumstances, and he's just trying to find out what happened.

Steve: The things that delighted me in my life delighted me because I could tell my brother about them or share them with my brother.

I miss him.

Um, I want to know what happened to him, and if there's a way... to find the person responsible for his death, then I want... I want that person brought to justice.

The Johnson case was a perfect opportunity for the New South Wales Police to make amends with a generation of the gay community that have never forgiven them.

And here is a perfect chance to say, "Yeah, we got it wrong."

Rick Feneley was writing a series of articles in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' about a number of gay as*ault and gay m*rder that had happened all along the eastern seaboard.

I wrote to Rick, described what I had witnessed that evening.

I think I published the Paul Simes account of what he'd witnessed a week after our first report.

One Saturday morning, I was reading the 'Sydney Morning Herald', and an article by Rick Feneley about how a gentleman called Paul Simes witnessed a bashing in South Dowling Street in 1989, and I went, "That was me."

That morning, I get a call from a man called Alan Rosendale, who says, "Oh, my God, it's me.

"That as*ault described in your story is me."

When I found out that I'd been bashed by four plain-clothes policemen, I just got so angry. [Laughs]

And so I...

Yeah, just anger.

And it all made sense.

That's why the police didn't come to take a statement from me.

That's why I never, ever heard from the police ever again, because, lo and behold, they were the ones that bashed me.

Was I trusting of the police?

I think... in most things, I would rely on the police.

You grow up thinking the police are there to protect you, and that's what I would have been hoping for on South Dowling Street.

"I hope the police come."

But I didn't know at the time that the police had come.

That Monday afternoon, I was contacted from the New South Wales Police Force to come in and make a statement.

Separate interviews on separate days by different people.

The detective joined us, and the first thing she said to me was, "There's nothing to indicate that the two incidents were connected."

And I thought, "Well, that's a pretty negative attitude to have straight off."

And both of us noted with surprise that the detectives had said, "You must understand there is no evidence to suggest that there is anything to connect these two incidents."

It's possible that exactly the same crime, you know, happened twice in exactly the same location on different days.

It's possible.

But the details are so remarkably similar, I just think it's beyond, you know, beyond reckoning, really.

It did seem to me that they'd made up their mind before they ever interviewed us that these were two separate incidents.

That investigation came back with next to nothing.

I mean, it told them nothing.

But what was most alarming to me... the police response made no mention of the fact that Paul has been called in by senior police who told him the assailants were police.

So somehow the police, all these years later, seemed completely uninterested in exploring or finding out who these assailants were, any record of that high level meeting.

It seems that either... a record of that meeting with Paul Simes was expunged, or it was never committed to paper in the first place.

But this strikes me as being something that was handled so surreptitiously that the coppers thought, "We're not going to put an entry anywhere."

Because they're experienced investigators.

They know that anything they write down is subject to subpoena, they know that they may not be able to block it. "So if we don't write it down, we're not gonna get caught by it."

Totally unsatisfied.

I just keep getting more and more angry and frustrated that they can't...

They don't want to. They don't want to investigate themselves.

Even though it was 25 years ago, they don't want to.

It's unfair just to sort of say, "Oh, it was the h*m* police force," and somehow absolve ourselves.

I mean, the reason the police force didn't care enough was because society didn't care enough, you know?

And so if we all cared enough, the police force would have been compelled to investigate better.

My brother was never accepting of me, but... now, over the last year, I went out with them after my grandmother died.

We went to a pub up on the Central Coast, and my brother introduces me to... "This is my gay brother."

[Laughs] Which you never thought he would ever say. But... if he'd lose the gay bit and say, "This is my brother," but, um... it's progress.

And he does even drink from the same glass that I've actually drunk from now.

Whoever did it, or those who did it, will probably have to go through life thinking over the back of their shoulder what they did... and how would they feel if I was standing there dangling one of their children, or their brother or sister over a cliff and saying, "Right, it's all over," and just open my hand?

Because when they did what they did, that's exactly what they did.

They changed the course of my history, my family's history, my father's history, forever.

For what?

For what did they get? What?

He would not have had $25.

Well, he died with his cigarettes and his money in his smoke packet, which was found on the ground, so they didn't even steal his f*ck' cigarettes, you know?

Why the f*cking hell do you throw someone over a cliff?

For what?

Man: 8 March, 2016.

I am writing this letter from prison.

In 1990, I m*rder a gay man and seriously as*ault his companion.

I was convicted of these crimes along with two other men.

The night of the crime at Marks Park was one of dread, fear, anger, confusion.

On the way to Bondi that night, I was fearful, confused, yet all of this was overshadowed by false pride, teenage bravado and a desire to make others feel as miserable and lonely as I did as a kid.

It did not matter if they were gay or not.

Gay men were simply an easy conduit.

There was no exhilaration.

The most accurate way to describe what went through me emotionally and physically was release.

When I drank and took drugs, it opened the spillway, just like a dam.

I had no emotional intelligence at all, so that was my mechanism for a long time.

In hindsight, I now see that gay people at that point in my youth were shown to be an easy target for an angry, maladjusted young boy.

Gay men were much maligned in the 1970s and '80s.

My opinion of gay men now is one of compassion, support and friendship.

I believe that gay men should be allowed to marry.

I believe they do the nation more justice than the rest of us do.

Yes, I have gay friends, and one of my closest mates is gay.

He's a good bloke.

He knows my past and cannot identify the man I am now with the person I was then.

If a young bloke told me he wanted to subject gay men to v*olence, I wouldn't say anything.

I'd ask him why.

That would be my starting point in dispelling the misguided and ill-conceived views and beliefs he holds.

Without experience and knowledge, one cannot develop wisdom, and my goal in that scenario would be to impart that upon the young man.

What can I say to the family?

I would say that their sons, brothers, etc had every right to be there that night.

That my actions that night were abhorrent.

No human deserves to be treated that way.

I'm sorry I took your son's life that night.

If I wasn't there, then he would not have died.

I denied him the opportunity to a full and happy life.

I caused immeasurable pain and loss in your family.

For this, I am sorry.

[Wistful music]
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