Out of sight: the untold story of Adelaide’s gay hate murders

SBS, Oct 17th, 2016

For decades, gay bashers operated with impunity. Sometimes, they killed their victims. The police often didn’t care. Sometimes, they were said to be doing the bashing.

A culture of indifference meant the bodies piled up as the world looked the other way. But little is known about gay hate crimes outside those now widely documented in NSW. This SBS investigation explores alleged gay hate crimes in South Australia.

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Late one night in 1992, Rex Robinson pulled his car into one of Adelaide’s most notorious beats. High beam on, Rex sees a man lying face down, motionless in the middle of the road. It’s the night that embroiled Rex in a vicious bashing case which made headlines and outraged the gay community, leaving him without a job and wishing he’d never gone to the police.

Dr. George Duncan’s body was pulled from the River Torrens in 1972. At the time, homosexuality was illegal. Police were the suspects in the murder. It’s a case that’s gone on to become one of South Australia’s most notorious unsolved murders, altered history for all gay men in the state.

Beats are secretive places – they provide anonymity for men seeking sex, but this secrecy also provides a cover and protection for their attackers. “Todd” ran away at 16 and lived on the streets of Adelaide. The street kids he hung out with used to head to beats and used Todd as bait to lure men into the bushes because of how young he looked. This wasn’t the only group targeting homosexuals at beats.

David “John” Saint was an ordinary guy. He worked, bought three houses, did them up and sold them. On April 16, 1991, he was found covered in blood on a main Adelaide street by a passer-by. He didn’t make it. From day one, police said publicly that robbery was the motive. But this didn’t sit well with the gay community.

There is a way you can take a gay murder and make it not a gay murder. You get a good lawyer. This is what happened in 2011 to the brutal killing of Andrew Negre that continues to bounce around the legal system.

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