Arrest made over the 1987 murder of Raymond Keam


An elderly Victorian man has been arrested over the cold-case murder of Sydney man Raymond Keam.

Kean, who was 43 at the time of his death, was found in Alison Park in Randwick in January of 1987. Police allege his murder was a gay-hate crime based on a false perception of his sexual orientation.

Police has arrested 75-year-old Stan Early, who lives in the Melbourne suburb of Clayton was arrested this week and extradited to New South Wales. Early would have been in his early 40’s at the time of the murder.

Kean, who was a martial arts expert, died from severe head injuries. A 1988 coronial inquest found that he was likely struck by a person or persons unknown.

The murder was investigated by Strike Force Parrabell, which was set up to look into a the deaths of 88 men between 1976 and 2000 and determine if their deaths had a gay hate crime motive.

Assistant Commissioner Tony Crandell said it had been painstaking work to gather all the evidence that lead to this week’s arrest.

“Mr Kean identified himself as heterosexual but it was the perception… of his sexuality, the location of this crime being Alison Park, which was a well-known beat back in 1986 and through to 1987,” he said.

“So a tragic set of circumstances [but] a really good result for us after 34 years of inquiry.”

Police would not confirm if the million dollar reward they offered earlier this year lead to the breakthrough in the case.

Police Minister David Elliott said on Thursday that in NSW there was “no such thing as a closed case”.

“We will get to the bottom of as many of these murders as we can.” the Police Minister said.

Nicolas Parkhill, CEO of NSW LGBTQ health organisation, ACON, said the last three decades had been a difficult journey for Kean’s family.

“While ACON cannot comment on the details of this arrest, this has been a long and difficult journey for the family and loved ones of Raymond Keam, including his wife and four children.

“We are hopeful of now moving a step further in understanding the truth behind what happened to Mr Keam in Alison Park in Randwick in 1987.

“Mr Keam’s death occurred during a dark and violent period in Sydney’s history. An epidemic of violence, motivated by bias and hate, swept through Sydney and NSW during the 1970s to 1990s, leaving a legacy of pain, grief and trauma.

“There remain dozens more cases from this time that are unsolved, leaving many families and loved ones without answers or resolution. While this is a significant development in this particular case, it highlights the need for ongoing investigation, truth-telling and the delivery of justice for so many other victims of hate crimes, who were murdered or bashed in similar cases in NSW.

“We know that there are still people out there with vital information that can assist with ongoing inquiries. We commend the NSW Police Force for continuing to investigate this case, as well as the NSW Government for committing to a $1 million reward in 2020 for information on Mr Keam’s murder.” Parkhill said.

“Knowing the truth is vital in order to achieve justice and healing. As such, ACON renews its calls for a judicial inquiry into unsolved hate crimes, as recommended in the final report of the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry handed down in May earlier this year.”

Speaking to the ABC the murdered man’s son said it would allow their family to close a horrible chapter of their life. Dane Kean said he’d never known his father, but people always described him as kind, generous and caring.

“Ray was a kind, generous, caring and strong man, that would do anything to help out even a stranger” these are the words that I would regularly hear when people would tell me about my dad,” he said.

“My family and I never thought this day would come, knowing finally that someone could be held accountable for the vicious murder of our father. We realise that this is only just the beginning, but it’s the start for us to be able to close this horrible chapter of our lives.

“My family and I would like to thank the detectives for their hard work with the investigation to bring my father justice after so many years.”

Stan Early will appear in a Sydney court in October.

OIP Staff

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