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Crime

Man charged with gay hate murder after 32 year search allegedly met his victim for sex before pushing him off a cliff

Lily Wakefield May 13, 2020
Scott Price was arrested at his home in Sydney on Tuesday, May 12, charged with the murder of Scott Johnson in 1988.

Scott Price was arrested at his home in Sydney on Tuesday, May 12, charged with the murder of Scott Johnson in 1988. (NSW Police Force/ Twitter)

The man charged with the hate crime murder of Scott Johnson, a gay US student who was found naked at the bottom of a cliff in Australia 32 years ago, allegedly met him for sex before killing him.

Johnson, 27, was a talented maths student, and had moved from the US to Sydney to be with his partner Michael Noone in 1986, after they met as students at the University of Cambridge in the UK.

He had almost completed his PhD when tragically, in 1988, Johnson’s body was found naked at the bottom of a cliff in New South Wales.

His death was initially ruled a suicide, but after the tireless campaigning of his family, a 2018 coroner’s inquest ruled that he had likely died as a result of a gay hate crime.

In 2019, police offered a a $1 million reward to anyone who came forward with information that led to a prosecution, and this year Johnson’s brother Steve matched the reward, bringing the total offer to $2 million.

Now, 32 years after his death, an Australian man has finally been charged with Johnson’s murder. Scott Price, 49, was arrested at his home in Sydney on Tuesday, May 12.

Price was refused bail and and his case was briefly mentioned at Parramatta Local Court on Wednesday, but he chose not to appear by video link.

Gay man Scott Johnson
Scott Johnson. (Justice For Scott Facebook page)

Police will allege that Scott Johnson met his killer at a hotel.

According to ABC News, the arrest of the 49-year-old came after an extensive police operation.

The publication reported that police are planning to allege that Scott Price, then 18, met Scott Johnson at a hotel before heading to the Bluefish Point clifftops, an area where gay men met for casual sex.

It is believed that Johnson removed his clothes when they arrived. White then allegedly panicked and punched Johnson, at which point he fell to his death.

Police found his clothes neatly folded around 10 metres from the edge of the cliff.

According to Out in Perth, Price’s case will return to court in mid-July.

More: Australia, Hate crime, murder, Scott Johnson, Scott Price, Sex

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