Crime

Man charged with gruesome murder of gay couple: ‘There was a lot of blood’

Maggie Baska February 1, 2022
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Side by side pictures of Steven Finlay and Mitch Watson, a gay couple who were found murdered in Sydney

A man has been arrested and charged over the deaths of Steven Finlay and Mitch Watson, a gay couple who were found murdered in Sydney. (Facebook/Star Observer)

A man has been charged over the gruesome murder of a gay couple after their bodies were discovered in a Sydney boarding house.

Christopher Bouggas, 41, has been arrested and charged with two counts of murder over the deaths of Steven Finlay, 52, and his partner Mitch Watson, 32. The two men were found dead just before midnight at a boarding house in Cleveland Street, Redfern, on Saturday (29 January).

NSW Police said in a statement that officers had carried out “extensive inquiries” into the deaths of the two men and eventually arrested Bouggas at 3.30pm on Monday (31 January). Officers took Bouggas back to the station where he was charged with two counts of murder and was refused bail.

Detective superintendent Rodney Hart told reporters that it was a “very difficult and confronting crime scene” as both men “suffered significant injuries”.

He added that one of the victims was “on the phone” to triple zero – the number for emergency services in Australia – while “police were en-route to assist”.

“A post-mortem is scheduled for today and tomorrow, and that hopefully will give us more of an idea of what the injuries are and the cause of death,” Hart said.

ABC reported that no details about the gay couple’s cause of death have been released, but police reportedly don’t think that a firearm was involved.

Michael Hannan, a neighbour and acquaintance of the victims, described Finlay as a “pleasant fellow” who was “very nice”.

“He’d lived here for many years with his boyfriend,” he said. “The younger man, he didn’t like people talking to him… he was a bit shy.”

Hannan added that the couple “wouldn’t let anyone in” their unit – “not even the landlord”.

A neighbour, who only wished to be identified as John, told the Daily Telegraph that he heard men fighting and then eerie silence just before police discovered the gay couple’s bodies.

“It was like he punched his mate at the wall and I woke up and said, ‘What the f**k are you doing, stop it,’” John said.

He continued: “I heard bang bang bang, then it went dead quiet and the police came. They’re always fighting, I hear it.”

Afterwards, John claimed he walked past the room where the two men lived and saw their bloodied bodies on the ground.

“There was blood. A lot of blood. All on his arm. It looked like his arm had gone through glass,” he said.

Bouggas did not appear for a court hearing on the charges, but his lawyer Mostafa Daoudie did attend the hearing, Star Observer reported. The case has now been adjourned to 29 March.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, police will allege in court that the gay couple and Bouggas were all known to each other and lived at the same boarding house.

More: murder, Sydney

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