Scott Johnson

The NSW Government has announced a $1million reward for information that leads to the conviction of those responsible for the death of Scott Johnson.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller and lead investigator, Detective Chief Inspector Peter Yeomans, were joined by Scott Johnson’s brother, Steve Johnson, to announce the ten-fold increase today (Sunday 9 December 2018), to coincide with the 30th anniversary of Scott’s death.

On the morning of Saturday 10 December 1988, the body of Sydney-based American National, Scott Johnson, was found at the base of a cliff at Blue Fish Point, near Manly’s North Head.

At the time of his death, Scott was aged 27.

A coronial inquest in 1989 found Scott had committed suicide, with a second inquest in June 2012 returning an open finding.

The matter was referred for a third inquest and in 2017, the then NSW Coroner Michael Barnes found that Mr Johnson fell from the cliff top as a result of actual or threatened violence by unidentified persons who attacked him because they perceived him to be homosexual.

In September 2018, the case was referred to a specialist investigative team, who are conducting fresh inquiries into Scott’s death under Strike Force Welsford.

To assist with the investigation, the NSW Government has increased the $100,000 reward to $1million.

Minister for Police, Troy Grant, said the government was committed to providing police with the resources needed to solve crime and deliver justice for victims.

“There are currently more than 240 NSW Government rewards on offer in NSW, and with today’s increase, seven of those are for $1million,” Mr Grant said.

“We are pleased to be able to offer this reward and I hope it finally leads to the answers that Scott’s family have been seeking.”

Commissioner Fuller welcomed the reward and thanked the government for their ongoing support.

“Rewards play an important role in many investigative strategies and can also be that final motivation needed for someone to speak with police,” Commissioner Fuller said.

“This case captured the attention of people around the world and has certainly stayed in the hearts and minds of the LGBTIQ community, and to keep the investigation progressing, we need people to talk to us.

“Scott’s death is possibly one of the most challenging investigations I’ve seen – and it’s believed one of the greatest hindrances has been an unwillingness for witnesses to come forward.

“This reward gives us an opportunity to appeal to those who know what happened to Scott but may have been reluctant to talk to detectives.”

The Commissioner also acknowledged the tenacity of Scott’s family, who have been tireless in their pursuit for answers and justice.

“I don’t think a day would have gone by that Steve didn’t think about Scott and the life he missed out on – and every one of those days Steve has been fighting for justice,” Commissioner Fuller said.

“The Johnson family have waited 30 years for a resolution; there is no better time than now for the truth to come out.

“I hope that with a fresh appeal and $1million on the table, those with information get in touch with investigators and we can finally see justice for Scott,” Commissioner Fuller said.

Steve Johnson said the acceptance by NSW Police Force of State Coroner Barnes’ findings and the appointment of Detective Chief Inspector Peter Yeomans and a dedicated team of police with fresh eyes to investigate this homicide makes plain that any information about Scott’s death is important now, more than ever.

“It is very likely more than one person was involved in the gay hate crime that ended my brother’s life,” Mr Johnson said.

“Someone knows what happened to Scott, either because they were present or because they heard of what happened from others who were present.

“It is likely that those who were involved in Scott’s death would have bragged about it given the culture of gay hate amongst groups in Sydney at the time.

“It’s 30 years to the day since Scott’s death. I encourage anyone who has any information to come forward and provide it.

“Do this for Scott, do this for all gay men who were subject to gay hate, and now, do it for yourself.”

The $1million reward can be paid to anyone who has information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for Scott’s death.

Anyone with information that may assist Strike Force Welsford detectives is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

Do you have information that can help police with this case?

Any information you have about this is worth giving to police, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.

You can provide information to police via any of the methods below:

Any information provided will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Your help may give police the clue they need to close this case and provide some comfort for the families of victims.

How to claim your reward

  1. Contact Crime Stoppers or your local Police Station.
  2. Identify yourself and indicate you have information about a crime and that you wish to claim a reward.
  3. You will then be put in contact with a police officer involved in the investigation of that case.