A forensic breakthrough has identified a person of interest in the unsolved murder of former AC/DC manager Crispin Dye after key evidence sat untested for almost three decades.
On Tuesday, a NSW inquiry into potential gay hate-related deaths resumed to focus on the killing of the legendary Australian rock band’s long-term manager in Sydney nearly 30 years ago.
Dye died on Christmas Day 1993, aged 41, a day after he was attacked near Oxford St in the inner-city suburb of Darlinghurst, where he had been celebrating the release of his debut solo album.
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A 1995 inquest failed to shed light on the case, and a $100,000 reward also led nowhere.
But the 2023 inquiry previously found that Dye’s blood-stained jeans and denim shirt were never sent for forensic analysis and that other exhibits were lost.
Crispin Dye was bashed to death in Sydney in 1993. Credit: AAP
Potentially crucial information written on two pieces of paper found in his shirt pocket were also undetected in an evidence box for almost 30 years.
Counsel assisting the inquiry Meg O’Brien said it was “extraordinary” NSW police officers had not previously discovered the pieces of paper in Dye’s shirt, given the multiple investigations into his death.
“What’s particularly troubling about this is that the pieces of paper found by the inquiry … may have been a source of fingerprints or DNA, which in turn may have provided the police with information about Mr Dye’s assailant or assailants,” she said.
At the direction of the inquiry, five items of clothing — including Dye’s jeans and shirt — were submitted for analysis.
It was the first time any of the items had been forensically tested.
In July, blood on the jeans back pocket was found to contain DNA from an unknown male that matched a profile obtained from another crime scene.
Documents produced by NSW Police revealed the crime scene was a house in Glenwood where there had been a reported 2002 break-in.
“It is plainly unsatisfactory that this evidence has lain untouched for nearly 30 years without being found or subjected to testing.”
The DNA match resulted in a previously unknown male being identified as a person of interest in relation to Dye’s death.
“The existence of (the male’s) DNA within a blood stain on Mr Dye’s jeans is consistent with his having made physical contact with Mr Dye on the night he was assaulted,” O’Brien said.
However, the inquiry was unable to draw any conclusions about what, if any, role the person played in Dye’s death, based on publicly available information.
The person of interest died in late 2002.
“It is plainly unsatisfactory that this evidence has lain untouched for nearly 30 years without being found or subjected to testing,” O’Brien said.
“The inquiry’s identification of (the male) in 2023 as a person of interest in relation to the death of Mr Dye in 1993 demonstrates the importance of ensuring the timely and repeated forensic testing of exhibits even in what are called ‘cold cases’.”
She said the motivations of Dye’s assailant or assailants remained unknown, but there was “objective reason” to suspect the attack was motivated by LGBTQI bias either in whole or in part.
Some of Dye’s friends believed the attack was a hate crime, but police investigating did not classify it as such because it took place in a known robbery hot-spot.
But O’Brien pointed to expert advice previously provided to the inquiry that most LGBTQI hate crime was opportunistic, and that many offenders also took the opportunity to rob their victims.
“The possibility of both motives co-existing does not appear to have been considered by (police) in any detail at all,” she said.
The Special Commission of Inquiry into LGBTIQ hate crimes has been examining the deaths of gay people between 1970 and 2010.
The commissioner, Supreme Court Justice John Sackar, is due to deliver a final report to the state government in December.
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